Press Release courtesy of UNLV Athletics.
UNLV will honor one of the top coaches in the school’s history Saturday, Oct. 7, by naming the swimming pool inside of Buchanan Natatorium, the Jim Reitz Pool.
The official naming ceremony will take place prior to the team’s Alumni meet at 10 am, while the night before on Oct. 6, there will be a Recognition and Dedication Social at the Mendenhall Center at 7 pm as part of the team’s Alumni Weekend. The social is open to UNLV swimming alumni, boosters, UNLV staff, parents and friends.
“Jim is a legend in the Las Vegas athletics community, not only for his winning record, but for the impact he had on thousands of student-athletes, coaches, and colleagues,” said second-year UNLV swimming and diving head coach Ben Loorz, a former assistant coach under Reitz. “There are untold numbers of us who value the mentoring role that Coach Reitz had, and continues to have, in our lives.”
A fundraiser is currently near the finish line to cover the cost of a bronze plaque that will be placed inside the natatorium honoring Reitz’s accomplishments as the Rebels’ head coach, while signage is being added both inside and outside of Buchanan. The plaque will first be on display at the Friday night social at Mendenhall Center before Saturday’s official reveal at the pool. For more information or to contribute to the project, click here.
“We are thrilled to be able to make our facility a permanent testimony to Coach Reitz’s legacy,” Loorz added. “Jim is a humble man, and while he may feel somewhat shy about seeing ‘Jim Reitz’ on the wall, there is no other name that befits our pool. It has been an exciting summer planning this event and reaching out to alumni all over the world. We expect a big crowd to come honor our Coach in October.”
Reitz retired following the 2015-16 season, after spending 35 years as head coach of the Rebel men’s and women’s swimming and diving program, which also made him the longest-tenured coach in Rebel athletics history. He guided the men’s and women’s teams to a combined 14 conference championships during his time with the Scarlet and Gray, while the men’s squad became a true dynasty under his watch over the final part of his career.
UNLV won 10 men’s conference championships over his final 11 seasons, which included a run of seven straight in the Mountain West, while they also became the only non-Power Five school to consistently finish in the top 25 in the nation. The Rebels scored at the NCAA men’s championships a total of 17 times over his 35 years, including 14 top-30 finishes, while the women’s squad posted three top-30 finishes of their own, and scored in eight total NCAA championships.
The final six years for Reitz with the Rebels was his best six-year run at the national level, as it included three straight top-30 finishes for the men, five total top-30 finishes in the six-year stretch, and two 19th-place finishes in 2011 and 2014, the highest in school history. Fourteen men’s swimmers and 15 from the women’s team earned Conference Swimmer of the Year honors while under Reitz, while he picked up 16 Conference Coach of the Year awards, from the Big West, Mountain West, MPSF and WAC during his 35 years on the pool deck.
Reitz coached a total of 42 Rebels to All-American status between the men’s and women’s programs. UNLV was also well-represented internationally during his time guiding the program, both at the Olympic Games as well as other international competitions. Reitz also stressed academic success for the Rebels, and his teams saw a near perfect graduation rate while consistently being awarded with CSCAA (College Swimming Coaches Association of America) Team Academic honors.
For more information about the Dedication Social on Oct. 6 or to RSVP for the event, please contact Associate Head Coach Pat Ota at [email protected].