Figures from UNLV football, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and journalism were honored Friday when the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2019 class.
Longtime sports and entertainment industry veteran Steve Stallworth, former UNLV wide receiver Hunkie Cooper, Las Vegas Baseball Academy owner Mike Martin, revered youth baseball coach Manny Guera, the Vegas Golden Knights and sportswriter Steve Carp were announced as honorees at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Carp, Gaming Today’s editor, joins longtime Las Vegas Review-Journal boxing writer and 2006 inductee Royce Feour, who passed away in December, as the only writers selected to the Hall of Fame.
“I’m not quite Greg Maddox or Jerry Tarkanian or these other guys,” Carp said. “But I did write about all of them.
“We just lost Royce recently. To be in that company is humbling.”
“It’s probably overdue,” SNSHOF Executive Director Jim Lambright said of Carp’s selection. “He’s covered every sport from the time Las Vegas only dreamed of (having a major-league franchise) until now.”
Carp moved to Las Vegas in 1988 and worked at both the Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun, covering virtually every major sports subject in Las Vegas, including UNLV basketball, tennis star and Las Vegan Andre Agassi, the NBA All-Star Game, the NBA Summer League, as well as boxing, soccer, baseball and golf.
He is the author of “Runnin’: UNLV Rebels, A Basketball Legacy,” which documented the school’s 1990 national championship season.
In September, Carp was hired as editor of Gaming Today.
“The writing comes easily because of the relationships he’s forged,” Howard Barish, GT’s general manager and executive editor, said of Carp. “Being in one place so long — that’s so rare. Young writers move around a lot. He’s been in the same place for 30 years.
“(Steve has) brought a level of mature writing — not that Gaming Today hasn’t had that. But now our intent is to be a national publication.”
Bill Paulos, who purchased Gaming Today in September, praised Carp’s extensive body of work.
“I think it’s absolutely terrific,” Paulos said of Carp’s induction. “Steve has done so many good things and written so many great articles. He deserves to be there.”
Carp also covers the Vegas Golden Knights and writes a column on his beloved hockey for SinBin.vegas.
“Covering the Golden Knights from their inception, writing about a sport I love and played as a kid — I owe thanks to Ken (Boehlke) and Jason (Pothier),” Carp said.
He is the author of “Vegas Born: The Remarkable Story of the Golden Knights,” which chronicled the team’s 2017-18 inaugural season.
The Golden Knights, Las Vegas’ first major-league sports franchise, took the community by storm last season. As an expansion team, the Golden Knights made a magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals, charming Las Vegans and making the city a hockey town along the way.
Golden Knights President and COO Kerry Bubolz talked about his team’s bond with Las Vegas.
“We have a saying internally,” he said. “’Community is a contact sport.’ We’re Vegas born, and this award should go to the city.”
Stallworth, general manager of the South Point Arena and Priefert Pavilion, has worked in the Las Vegas sports industry to 25 years. A 1987 UNLV graduate, Stallworth was a Rebels quarterback and scholar athlete in 1985 and 1986. He has been vice president and general manager of Orleans Arena and has worked with the Thomas & Mack Center, Sam Boyd and Cox Pavilion.
“When I first got that call (about his Hall of Fame selection), I thought, ‘Wow. The pickings must be slim this year,” Stallworth quipped.
Then he quoted former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren: “I look at the sports page first to read about man’s accomplishments. I read the news to learn about man’s failures.”
Martin, a first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 1978, founded the Las Vegas Baseball Academy as a part-time venture in 1984. Today the academy is in its 29th year as a full-time operation.
“It’s such an honor to be selected,” Martin said. “The people who have preceded us (in the SNSHOF) are such important people in this community.
For 56 years, Guerra, who passed away last year, coached youth baseball in Clark County. He also worked as a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, covering the mountain west region.
“Mike and Manny did so much for youth baseball in Southern Nevada,” ceremony host Dick Calvert, the “Voice of the Rebels,” said. “That’s one of the reasons why Las Vegas has become such a hotbed for talent.”
Hernandez James Cooper — known throughout Las Vegas as “Hunkie” — played six different positions in his time on the UNLV football team and was an All-America punt returner as a senior in 1991. He is currently the wide receivers coach at San Diego State.
“He played virtually every position on the field,” Calvert said of Cooper. “He did everything except pass out towels. But the most important thing he did is when he started coaching.”
Calvert described Cooper’s time as coach at Canyon Springs high school.
“He coached them, not only to be football players,” Calvert said. “He taught them to be human beings.”
The six inductees will be honored in an official ceremony June 14 at Orleans Arena.
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