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CATCH OF THE DAY: Softball coach does more than just win 

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UNLV has been blessed to have great coaches over the years and the Rebels are honored to have another one in Pete Manarino.

In any sport, 900 is a big number. When softball head coach Pete Manarino reached this milestone last weekend, in his 25th season, he was very humble.

Of course, he was happy about the 900th win, but he’s also proud of the group of players he has now and has had en route to all his victories. He coaches for the players and that is why he loves the game. The victories are just a perk.

Coach Manarino believes his team can beat any other team out there and prepares for it as such. It is his compassion for his players and belief in them that brings out the best of their abilities. If anything else it gives them a resilient attitude to win games, just like last Sunday’s victory over New Mexico. That’s what makes him a great coach and he has the numbers to back that up.

In 23 years at Long Beach State, Manarino had a record 843-508-2 (.624). He led the 49ers to five NCAA Women’s College World Series appearances. He has won a total of five Conference Coach of the Year awards (one with Pacific Coast Athletic Association and four with the Big West Conference).

In his first year at UNLV, Manarino led the Rebels to a 31-21 record and the school’s ninth trip to the NCAA tournament — an impressive start on his UNLV journey.

But do the UNLV faithful even realize the caliber of coach we have on our softball team?

At 900 wins, he is the No. 15 winningest active coach in the nation, and by my calculations, he’s in the top 25 (all-time) in all NCAA divisions.

While he may only have amassed 57 wins of his 900 at UNLV, he is a Rebel and shows that true sprit every time he takes the field. He even reminds me a little bit of another famous Rebel that came from Long Beach State: Jerry Tarkanian.

While their sports are quite different, the way they treat their players and their respective game is much in the same. The tenacity that Tark wanted his players to play with is very similar to the resilience Manarino inspires in his team. There is no doubt in my mind that both men are future hall-of-famers.

Not only do congratulations go to coach Manarino, but also to all his players and assistant coaches, past and present. They have helped this very deserving and humble man reach this plateau that is unprecedented not only in softball but in all sports.

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