There are two coaches who have won NCAA titles in UNLV history: Dwaine Knight (golf, 1998) and the late Jerry Tarkanian (basketball, 1990). Now, Knight moves into the athletic department after his illustrious career and will be honored during the transition. –By Brian Hurlburt, Founder, LasVegasGolfInsider.com.
Knight spent the 2021-22 as the director of golf, but now he will transition into position as special assistant to the director of athletics, Erick Harper, beginning July 1, 2022. Also, it was announced that a new scholarship in Knight’s name has been created and will be given to a UNLV golfer each year.
“It has been extremely special spending more than three decades at UNLV and I am proud that Rebel Golf means so much to so many,” Knight said. “There are so many people that have helped to make the program successful throughout all of these years and I am appreciative of each and every one of them. Thank you to Erick Harper for the opportunity to continue to be a part of UNLV Athletics and I look forward to being involved in its success.”
Harper said Knight’s accomplishments are iconic, and more plans are in store to honor Knight throughout the next year.
“Coach Knight is one of the all-time UNLV legends,” Harper said. “The program that he built and the success that it achieved is extraordinary and we continue to celebrate him and his legacy. This scholarship is just one way that we can recognize all that he has done for our university and community. We will continue to honor him and recognize his accomplishments and contributions in various ways throughout this next year and into the future.”
There are so many accolades earned by Knight, highlighted by coach of the year awards and hall of fame inductions.
Knight is a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame, the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame and the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame.
Knight is also a two-time National Coach of the Year and served as the head coach of the UNLV men’s golf program for 34 seasons. He took it from near-anonymity to one of the premier programs in the nation.
In 1998, he guided the team to the NCAA crown in Albuquerque, N.M. Knight led the Rebels to an unprecedented 22 trips to the national finals and coached them to 11 top-eight finishes. Additionally, he led his team to a NCAA-record 31 straight appearances at the NCAA Regionals from 1988-2019. Under his tutelage, the Rebels earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking in 1993 and following the 1997-98 season, the team finished No. 1 in the nation in all polls.
A true teacher of the sport, Knight tutored 48 All-Americans at UNLV, a National Player of the Year, a National Freshman of the Year, a U.S. Amateur Champion, three U.S. Public Links Champions, four Walker Cup participants and eight Palmer Cup representatives. Additionally, three former Rebel golfers went on to play for the U.S. in the Ryder Cup. Knight captured three national titles (one team championship and two individuals – Warren Schutte in 1991 and Ryan Moore in 2004), won eight conference championships and developed 89 all-conference players. Since 1998, Knight helped 22 Rebel golfers earn the All-America Scholar award and four were named Academic All-Americans.
Since Knight came to UNLV, 12 of his players went on to play on the PGA TOUR, combining for 31 PGA Tour titles, including Adam Scott’s win at the 2013 Masters.
The only two-time winner in the ’90s of the GCAA National Coach of the Year award (1991 and 1998), Knight was also proclaimed Golfweek National Coach of the Year in 1998, earned Coach of the Year honors at the conference level five times (1979, 1989, 1998, 2002 and 2017) and at the district tier four times (District VII in 1981, District VIII in 1991, 1998 and 2005).