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September 30, 2014

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Ray Brewer: From the Pressbox

Tim Chambers is obvious choice for UNLV baseball coaching position

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Justin M. Bowen

College of Southern Nevada baseball coach Tim Chambers hits grounders during infield practice. He led the Coyotes to the 2003 junior college national championship and often mentioned as a potential successor at UNLV.

A three-paragraph press release issued Tuesday by UNLV officials announced what several long have anticipated: UNLV baseball coach Buddy Gouldsmith won't have his contract renewed next season.

The news was significantly overdue. It likely should have come two years ago.

What was more telling in the release, however, was the final line: "(Athletic Director Jim) Livengood said a national search will begin immediately but he will not comment until the 2010 season is complete."

National search?

That would be a waste the time, money and resources, because the best candidate is right here in the Las Vegas Valley.

Livengood, who was hired in December from the University of Arizona of the baseball-rich Pac-10 Conference, surely will test the waters outside the area as part of his search.

But making a short drive south on U.S. 95 to the Henderson campus of the College of Southern Nevada would be a better use of his time. There, he will find the man who will surely revive the program — a coach several in local baseball circles long have pegged for the position.

CSN coach Tim Chambers is a proven winner and a perfect fit for the position. He would lead the Rebels to their initial trip to the College World Series within four years — guaranteed.

While the UNLV program has been a black eye to the proud Las Vegas Valley baseball community, Chambers has built his junior-college program into a perennial national power. He's one of the nation's most respected evaluators of talent, savvy in dealing with the public and, most important considering the university system's poor economic state, a proven fundraiser.

He will raise the money needed to transform UNLV into a winner, have his pick of the valley's top high school players and put a respectable product on the field that locals can finally be proud of.

Chambers led the Coyotes to the 2003 national title to highlight an 11-year tenure at CSN. The team is competing in the NJCAA Western District Baseball Tournament this week, a few wins away from earning another appearance at the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.

UNLV, on the other hand, hasn't made the NCAA Tournament in five years. Playing in the World Series never has been a reality for the Rebels, which is a true shame considering the youth and high school talent in the area.

Chambers would get that talent to play for UNLV. He has 15 locals on his roster at CSN and has earned the respect of the area's high school players and coaches. The same can't be said for Gouldsmith, who rarely signed a local of significance and wasn't respected on the local high-school circuit.

That's not to say Gouldsmith wasn't a good person. He is a man of extraordinary character and good intentions.

Gouldsmith, who has a 200-212 record in seven seasons, did a tremendous job in several aspects of his job. His players graduated and they are solid citizens off the field — two of the reasons why he was given a one-year contract last summer.

Now, it is time to give Chambers a contract.

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