September 21, 2008–The 1997-98 University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) golf team was inducted into the UNLV Hall of Fame over the weekend. The team won the National Championship during that fateful season, and was headlined by Las Vegas golf stars future PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour players Charley Hoffman, Jeremy Anderson and Bill Lunde.
The team, coached by Dwaine Knight (pictured), himself a Golf Coaches Association of America Hall-of-Famer, and several of the players were on hand for the induction and when the team was recognized during the UNLV-Iowa State football game. Hoffman has won one PGA Tour event, while Lunde is enjoying his best year as a professional. He is currently 4th on the Nationwide Tour money list and has secured an exemption for the 2009 PGA Tour season. Anderson is struggling this year and needs a strong finish on the Nationwide Tour to keep his status for 2009. He is a former PGA Tour player. The team blistered the Championship Course at the Univeristy of New Mexico in '98 en route to a record-breaking win at the Finals. The other two players on the team were mini-tour player Chris Berry, the hero, and Scott Lander. In 2002, the team was inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame.
The win was the seventh of the year for the team and came after the Rebels shot a combined 34-under par for the tournament, an NCAA Finals record. The old mark was 23-under par set in 1992 by perennial power Arizona State and then matched by Stanford in 1994. Berry, who finished dead last at the 1996 NCAA Finals and was who many blamed for the Rebels not winning the title that year, came back and finished in a tie for second place and solidified the Rebel victory.
I am so proud of Chris," Knight said following the tournament. "For him to comeback and lead us to victory after his previous NCAA Championship is just so special." Berry said that watching the scoreboards during the rounds was a key and that seeing his teammates going low fired him and made him want to play to an even higher level. Berry played a shot from the desert in the final round that saved the tournament.
Following the win, the Rebels received a welcome at the airport and then a large party in downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience. Plus, President Bill Clinton invited the team to the Whitehouse and also played a round of golf with the team. Knight also flew with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. And Steve Wynn, the creator of Las Vegas golf course Shadow Creek Golf Club, one of the world's best golf experiences and for a time the home course of the Rebels, hosted the team at the course for yet another victory celebration. A reserve player on the team was Daron Dorsey, who is now a successful Las Vegas attorney.