RENO — After a handful of delays due over the past two years due to the Covid pandemic, the 2020 NIAA Hall of Fame class was honored on June 10.
The group of northern Nevadans had a Battle Mountain, Austin and Lowy flare to it with the induction of Paul Tremayne, Mitch Woods and Pat Dolan.
In his 39 years of teaching and coaching athletics in Lander County, Tremayne and his teams gained a reputation as an ambassador for high school sports in Nevada.
Beginning as a teacher and coach at Austin High School and moving up to Battle Mountain, Tremayne’s teams were ready to play while also maintaining high standards in the classroom. Tremayne also became the dean of athletic directors, having served 32 years in that position.
Tremayne and 14 other inductees that included athletes, coaches and contributors were originally selected for the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2020, but the dinner and induction at the Peppermill in Reno was postponed several times because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Other inductees from the 28th Hall of Fame class, the largest to date, also included Dan Anderson, Toni (Brown) Fairbanks, Art Collins, Pat Dolan, Rob Hastings, Rollie Hess, Martin “Skip” Houk, Jennifer Hucke, Michelle Palaroan, Dave Price Richard Pitts, Ed Shepard, Mike Whitemaine and Mitch Woods.
While winning titles was a season goal, Tremayne, who retired in 2017, said a team receiving an academic or sportsmanship award showed more character.
“It says more about our kids,” Tremayne said.
The Idaho native and Boise State University graduate coached the Austin boys and girls teams in track, varsity boys basketball, J.V. boys basketball, varsity girls basketball and volleyball, and boys cross country.
The teams competed in the smallest athletic conference in the state. According to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, Tremayne’s track and field team at Austin was runner up in 1985, and he led the boys basketball team to east titles in 1995, 1998 and 1999.
Teaching and then coaching consumed a number of hours as did his time as athletic director. Austin was an isolated community, and the closest games were to the north against Battle Mountain and to the east at Eureka.
“We’d also go to Coleville (430 miles roundtrip) or Owyhee (504 miles roundtrip),” Tremayne said of Austin’s athletic schedule.
Tremayne said serving as athletic director was tough, especially in Austin, but the rewards were just as exciting if he had worked in a larger school. Tremayne received seven Coach of the Year honors and also oversaw the development of a track and football facility in the small mining town.
Twenty years after he accepted the teaching and coaching positions in Austin, Tremayne and his family moved to Battle Mountain, about 90 miles to the north.
His resume shows him serving as athletic director for 13 years, while, at the same time teaching and coaching. He achieved some of his greatest accomplishments with the girls basketball team from 2003 to 2018 and again during the 2021-2022 season. The Longhorns won four state basketball titles in 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2010) and one in girls golf in 2008.
During those 19 years, Tremayne was awarded with four Coach of the Year honors and helped oversee a football and track and field complex at the high school. He also guided the girls golf team (2006-2017), the j.v. volleyball team (2006-2008) and boys golf (2006-2008).
Tremayne said serving as athletic director and a coach at BMHS presented more challenges than what he faced at Austin. The challenges included working with the different personalities who coached the various athletic teams and to treat each program as important as his.
“If I had a charter bus, they had a charter bus, too,” he said during a question-and-answer session with master of ceremonies Chris Healy and NIAA interim executive director Donnie Nelson.
Tremayne drew a few chuckles when he said he also drove the team bus.
During his career, Tremayne said he also coached his children in various sports and announced all of them were attending the HOF dinner as were some friends and his 87-year-old father.
Treymayne said developing relationships with the players enabled him to see their work ethic and dedication to their respective sports.
Tremayne also thanked other guests who assisted him with basketball camps for 23 years.
Being a teacher and coach in rural Nevada is something Tremayne wouldn’t trade. The Idaho native said he had great administrations, and in Lander County, they were able to give his programs what the coaches needed.
Tremayne then paused for a few seconds.
He said his accomplishments and recognition during the HOF induction couldn’t have been done without the players.
Many followers of high-school athletics who saw Woods on the basketball court or baseball diamond have considered the Winnemucca native as one of the best who played for the Buckaroos.
Woods then pounded the ball on the hardwood for the University of Nevada basketball team for four years, having played in 30 games.
When the 6-foot, 4-inch Woods graduated from Lowry High School in 1973, the Buckaroos’ standout had earned 10 varsity letters and five All-State honors.
He opted not to play football in his junior and seniors years to concentrate on baseball and basketball, where he led Lowry to state titles in 1971 and 1973. According to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, the 1973 title was the first of three consecutive championships and the fourth in five seasons.
Woods, who runs a successful insurance firm in Reno, and 14 other inductees — athletes, coaches and contributors — were originally selected for the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.
Woods, though, was no stranger to other rural communities and basketball players who competed from Elko to Fallon to Minden. After the 1972-1973 basketball season, Woods was chosen Nevada’s Player of the Year.
The inspiration for the Buckaroos and Woods’ success during his senior year occurred the previous season when Lowry didn’t win a state title. Denial for a state trophy made Woods and his teammates hungrier.
“Sports in a small town … it was our life,” Woods said, adding he and his teammates couldn’t wait for the next event. “Growing up in a small town is very special.”
Woods said the friendships made have been important over the years, and the teammates were all good friends.
During his four years at Lowry, Woods earned three all-state honors in basketball during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons and was an all-State second team and all-State First team during his sophomore and seniors seasons, respectively.
Woods choked up remembering the events from his childhood and playing days at Lowry. He mentioned the late Pat Hart, the former Lowry coach who led the Buckaroos to their state titles and guided the team to 47 consecutive wins.
“He was the toughest coach I knew,” Woods said, pointing our Hart was also in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. “He loved us.”
Hart eventually left and coached in San Jose, Calif., where he also won several championships there. Hart died in 2018 from cancer.
Chris Murray of Nevada Sports Net considers Hart one of the Top 10 boys basketball coaches in Northern Nevada.
Once Woods left Winnemucca to play for the Wolf Pack, he acknowledged several teammates from those seasons including Joey Schmidt and Mike Mardian. Fallon’s Don Lattin, who opposed Woods in high-school ball, also played for the Wolf Pack, which was coached by the late Jim Padgett.
After his second season, fellow players and coaches honored Woods as their Most Inspirational Player, and during his senior year, the Pack was led by sophomore forward Edgar Jones.
After his university playing days, Woods became involved with youth basketball in the Reno area. He served on the board of directors of the Wild West Shootout for five years and has coached basketball through the Boys and Girls Club for more than 30 years.
Woods also assisted as a coach in the Ballers organization and coached at Clayton Middle School in northwest Reno for several seasons.
“I coached a lot of young men and women,” Woods said, adding many were either friends of his sons or daughter. “It was really fun to meet the families and the kids who are still Facebook friends.”
Winnemucca’s Dolan set several “firsts” with the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The former Humboldt County (Lowry) High School athlete earned seven athletic letters — three each in football and basketball and the other in track and field — before earning his degree in political science from the University of Nevada and later a law degree from the University of Oregon in 1973.
Yet, Dolan, who graduated from high school in 1963, will be long remembered for his work in the NIAA, first as the association’s first attorney in 1979 and then as its first hearing officer four years later. Dolan was recently inducted as a contributor into the NIAA’s Class of 2020. Dolan is also the son of John T. Dolan, who entered the NIAA Hall of Fame in 1994.
At the HOF dinner, Dolan said the most important law passed in athletics was Title IX, a federal law that prohibited sex-based discrimination in sports. The 1972 law began to level the playing field by allowing male and female athletes equal opportunities on the court or on the diamond.
“Title IX allowed women to play in interscholastic sports,” Dolan emphasized.
In 1983, Dolan became the NIAA’s first hearing officer.
Dolan’s biography called him one of his high school’s most well-rounded student-athletes. A center and linebacker in football, he earned all-League and all-State recognition. The honors didn’t stop there. Dolan was the co-Most Valuable Player on the 1962 all-State team, and was selected for the Prep All-America squad, also in the same season.
During the winter, Dolan competed in basketball for the Buckaroos. In 1962 and 1963, Dolan was selected to the all-Zone and all-State tournament teams.
Not only was Dolan a leader in athletics but also a leader in school, first as the Junior Class president and then as the student body president in his senior year.
After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, he taught in Winnemucca for two years at the high school where he also coached football. He became the head coach in 1969 and was able to more than double the participation from 20 to 48 players. The number continued to increase with 70 players suiting up in 1970.
Dolan became a varsity assistant and junior varsity basketball coach under the guidance of the legendary Pat Hart, the school’s varsity coach. Both coaches developed and operated summer and winter youth instructional leagues through the Winnemucca Recreation Department.
Dolan helped form the Lowry Century Club when he was coaching and teaching in Winnemucca. In 1998, Dolan became an inductee into the Winnemucca High School Hall of Fame.
As the first legal counsel with the NIAA from 1979 to 1999, Dolan helped draft and litigate many rules and regulations that are still in effect. They are provisions incorporated into the Nevada Administrative Code. He also helped enact rules for the NIAA to promote interscholastic activities.
From 2003 to 2019, Dolan was tabbed to become the NIAA’s first hearing officered. He was empowered to render final decisions on any appeal by any party that challenged an adverse interpretation and application of the NIAA‘s rules and regulations made either by the NIAA executive director of a member school.
Dolan has also held other independent contractor positions throughout Nevada.