Transformational Gift to ‘Advance Excellence’ for UNLV Men’s, Women’s Basketball

Whenever there is a headline that features the word Excellence, our ears and senses perk up. Such was the case when the University Nevada, Las Vegas athletics department announced an $8 million gift from the estate of James J. Baumberger that will help “advance Excellence” for the programs. –By Brian Hurlburt, Founder and Host, Magnifying Excellence Podcast.

The gift is the largest in UNLV athletics history and is intended to provide “permanent and life-changing scholarship and strategic support for UNLV men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes” both on and off the floor.

“This gift is transformational in every regard,” said UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield in a statement. “The impact on our basketball programs and athletics department is monumental and what it will mean for student-athlete success is even more exciting. It is a tribute to the trajectory of UNLV Athletics and a testament to a true Rebel in Jim Baumberger who leaves us a life-changing legacy.”

According to the official information, Runnin’ Rebel Basketball became family to Baumberger, and he surrounded himself with friends equally devoted to the success of the program. His love for basketball inspired a sincere appreciation for the student-athlete experience and Baumberger came to see a basketball scholarship as a gateway to a life-changing education.

“Mr. Baumberger was one of the most dedicated Rebel fans that we have ever had,” said Director of Athletics Desiree-Reed Francois. “His commitment to education was truly inspiring. Jim believed that education transforms lives and this gift pays tribute to the belief that athletics can be a vehicle for life-long success as well as to bring people in a community closer to one another.”

Baumberger passed away in July 2016, but his passion for student-athlete academic growth continues under UNLV men’s basketball head coach T.J. Otzelberger. The Runnin’ Rebels set a team record for GPA this past fall, earning a collective 3.57.

“We concentrate on the complete development of student-athletes as lifelong leaders, with education the cornerstone of sustained success,” said Otzelberger. “We will honor Mr. Baumberger and this wonderful gift through our student-athletes excelling on the court and in the classroom.”

Founder note – the son of and Magnifying Excellence Podcast is a junior on the UNLV men’s basketball team.

Click now for more UNLV athletics information