Former UNLV coach Charlie Spoonhour, known affectionately by fans and coaching colleagues as “Spoon,” passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 72 at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Spoonhour was the 12th head coach in Runnin’ Rebels history, compiling a 54-31 (.635) record before stepping down and turning over head coaching duties to his son Jay late in the 2003-04 season due to health issues. UNLV, coming off a tumultuous era under Bill Bayno, played in the National Invitation Tournament all three years under Spoonhour.
One of Spoonhour’s assistants was current UNLV head coach Dave Rice.
“Coach Spoon was an incredible person,” Rice said. “I learned so much from him about coaching, but more important, he taught us how to keep things in perspective and showed us how to be better people. He truly made a difference and had the unique ability to make everyone around him feel so special.”
Spoonhour spent 19 years as a Division I head coach and compiled a career mark of 373-202 (.649). He was head coach at Saint Louis University from 1992-99 where he was named 1994 National Coach of the Year. Prior to that, the devoted St. Louis Cardinals fan and close friend of Tony LaRussa coached for nine years at Southwest Missouri State (1983-92).
Spoonhour had a lung transplant in 2010 after having been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – a scaring of the lungs.
UNLV planned a moment of silence before Wednesday night’s game with Colorado State at the Thomas & Mack Center in Spoonhour’s honor. The Rebels also are going to wear a special “C.S.” patch on the uniforms for the rest of the season.
— MyLVSports.com staff report