Jimmy Olivas cared about kids. He exemplified this during his 35 years as Boxing coach at The University of Nevada, later to become UNR. Until his retirement in 1985 Jimmy was a source of support and inspiration as well as mentor to hundreds of “his kids”.
He might forget their names on occasion, but he never forgot their devotion to his program. The result of this dedication was a series of national and conference championships unequalled by any other coach or sport at the University of Nevada.
Olivas Team Members are a unique fraternity in themselves. Many of his kids are now prominent names in the business and professional world, both the private and public sectors of our community. One of the ways they give back to the community is through their support of the Jimmy Olivas Athletic Foundation.
The Olivas Foundation is focusing its attention on those students who want to learn, have the skills to learn, would be good to exceptional athletes but have little chance to attend college without some financial support. Plans are now underway to assist boys and girls who need that financial help.
by Ty Cobb
Wolf Pack boxing has carried on without the university’s support for many years.
It began in the 1928/29 seasons under coach Dick Wallace, but when he left to manage Tony Poloni, his standout light-heavy turned pr, it was shelved.
However, the energetic Dick Taylor revived the sport in 1945 and it had a very unusual debut. As a volunteer coach, Taylor fund a group of willing boxers, started training them in the basement of the Old Gym, but couldn’t get much competition.
He corresponded with “Crip” Toomey, athletic director of the Cal Aggies who was also the honcho for West Coast college boxing.
“Your guys would just be lambs for our boxers, “Toomey told Taylor. “You’re not in our class!” But Taylor was persistent, and Toomey finally agreed to look ever the Nevada guys when he came to Reno for a track meet.
Elated, Traylor briefed his boxers. “This man hold the key to our getting on the schedule. I want to make a good impression on him.
He instructed the Nevada guys to put o a good show when Toomey came to visit them at the Old Gym. He had each fellow, on sign al that Toomey was arriving, go through the pave of each specialty. He had Roger Bissett skipping rope, at which he was adept. He had Robert “Frenchy” Laxalt do his shadow boxing, at which he was impressive. Jack Swobe (son of Tony Poloni) rattle the speed bag. Pat Heher thumped the heavy bag. And so it went when Toomey came in to look them over. There was a great snorting, thumping, whamming, etc. And it kept up until he left.
Toomey was deep in thought. Finally he spoke: “Well, I don’t know now. Your guys look like a bunch of pros.”