Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame Enshrines Class of 2019
Hall welcomes five individuals and Vegas Golden Knights; awards six scholarships to local graduating seniors
At a ceremony this evening at the Orleans Arena, the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame enshrined the six inductees that make up the Class of 2019. This class includes Steve Carp, Hunkie Cooper, Manny Guerra, Mike Martin, Steve Stallworth and the Vegas Golden Knights. Including this induction class, the Hall of Fame now consists of 110 members.
Of the 110 current members, the SNSHF has enshrined two events (National Finals Rodeo and Las Vegas Bowl), two organizations (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Las Vegas Founders), four families (Cashman, Boyd, Fertitta and Herbst), seven teams (1976-77 UNLV Basketball, 1989-90 UNLV Basketball, 1983 Las Vegas Stars, 1944 Las Vegas High School Football, 1997-98 UNLV Golf, Las Vegas Thunder and the Vegas Golden Knights) and 95 accomplished individuals.
Carp, a native of Brooklyn, New York, has lived in Las Vegas since 1988 and has covered virtually every sport in Southern Nevada over the last 30 years, from preps to the pros. He first worked at the Las Vegas Sun, then joined the Review-Journal in 1999. Among the events Carp has covered were UNLV’s national basketball championship run in 1990 and return to the Final Four in 1991, the career of tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi, the 2007 NBA All-Star Game and the first 12 years of the NBA Summer League. In addition, he has covered the boxing careers of world champions Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Shawn Porter, Jessie Vargas, Ishe Smith and other fighters along with college and professional football, soccer, baseball, tennis and golf. Carp currently serves as senior editor of Gaming Today, the longtime Las Vegas-based publication.
Hailing from Texas, Hernandez James "Hunkie" Cooper took a circuitous path to Las Vegas and then stardom in the Arena Football League. From Navarro College he transferred to UNLV and twice earned All-American honors and all-Big West Conference accolades as a punt returner and kick returner. In 1993, Cooper began his tenure with the Arizona Rattlers. During the span of 1993-2005, he excelled on every level. In his first season, he earned League MVP. At the end of his distinguished career, Cooper was the all-time leader in receiving yards (8,559), receptions (776), all-purpose yardage (20,587) and kickoff returns (500). In 2011, he was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame. Following his playing career, Cooper joined the coaching ranks, first at Canyon Springs High School and currently at San Diego State University.
One of the most revered individuals in Las Vegas’ rich baseball heritage, Guerra began coaching youth baseball in 1961 in North Las Vegas. For the next 56 years, he coached the North Las Vegas City League, Clark County Youth Baseball League and American Legion Baseball in Southern Nevada. In the early 1970’s he met Ralph Meder, and together they conducted Sunday workouts at Valley High School and later at Hadland Park for any player that wanted to compete. He later became a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals organization for the Las Vegas area. During the next 26 years he was a Scout Supervisor and covered the states of Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. In 1998 Manny started the first “Scout Team” in Southern Nevada, a tradition that has continued for more than 20 years.
For more than 35 years, Martin has mentored aspiring local baseball players through the Las Vegas Baseball Academy. A native of Oregon, Martin was a top baseball prospect coming out of high school. The San Diego Padres drafted him in the 1st round of the 1978 Winter Draft out of Linn-Benton Junior College. He was in the Padres organization until 1984, which provided him with the opportunity to play for the Las Vegas Stars in 1983. On August 15, 1986 he got the call and made his Major League debut with the Chicago Cubs. It was during his stint with the Las Vegas Stars that Martin and former Star’s player Jerry DeSimone started the LVBA. The mission and importance of the LVBA can’t be understated – to teach baseball fundamentals and the mental part of the game to assist young players in further developing their skills. LVBA just completed its 35th annual Christmas camp in 2018.
Stallworth has had a distinguished career in Las Vegas, first on the gridiron and now in the sports and entertainment industry. With nearly 30 years of experience, Stallworth currently serves as the general manager of the South Point Arena, Equestrian Center and Priefert Pavilion. The South Point Arena is a 4,500 seat multi-purpose arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The South Point Equestrian Center Complex, which includes two additional arenas as part of the Priefert Pavilion, is widely regarded as the premier equestrian facility in the United States. A 1987 UNLV graduate in Communication Studies, Stallworth played quarterback for the UNLV Rebels football team from 1982-86. He was named team captain and received the scholar athlete award in 1985 and 1986. During his career at UNLV, Stallworth threw for 3,789 yards and 23 touchdowns.
The Vegas Golden Knights came into existence on June 22, 2016 when the ownership group led by William Foley, his family and the Maloof family was awarded an NHL franchise. The inaugural season was one for the record books. Led by general manager George McPhee and head coach Gerard Gallant, the Golden Knights became the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four North American professional sports leagues to start from scratch and finish first in its division. After three playoff series wins and a Western Conference championship, Vegas became the first expansion team to reach the Stanley Cup Final since the St. Louis Blues in 1968. With a victory in game one, the Knights also became the first expansion team to win a game in the Final.
The SNSHF is a non-profit organization committed to recognizing the outstanding achievements by Southern Nevada athletes, both in the world of sports and the local community. Proceeds from the event will be donated to organizations committed to the support and enhancement of Southern Nevada youth through active participation in programs designed to promote leadership, values and character through sports.
Over the past 23 years, the SNSHF has awarded 67 scholarships to Clark County students. This year, five graduating seniors are recipients of the Rich Abajian Leadership Scholarship.
They are Mandi Dallimore (Palo Verde High School), Deanine Dilworth (Valley High School), Haley Morton (Coronado High School), Kendall Nether (Green Valley High School) and Abigail Zuhlke (Shadow Ridge High School). The winner of the David Humm Scholarship Award for Courage is Claire Binfield (Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas).