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October 31, 2014

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high school basketball:

High school coaching legend will be inducted with Andre Agassi, Dana White in Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame

Bill Bobier made players better on and off the basketball court, was last high school coach to win four straight titles

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Bill Bobier

Bill Bobier

Bill Bobier with the 1982 Valley High boys basketball team. Launch slideshow »

2013 Nevada Sports Hall of Fame

UFC President Dana White speaks to members of the media during a press conference at City Hall to announce his induction into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Valley High basketball coach Bill Bobier had several rules he strictly enforced with his players.

One stands out for former star Freddie Banks: If you were going to dunk during a game, you better make it.

So, when Banks missed a dunk against Western, he immediately realized there would be a price to pay — even if Banks’ miss was the result of being fouled.

“If you dunk and miss, you have to wear a weight-jacket for (the entire) next practice,” Banks said. “I missed, but I was fouled. He didn’t care. I was saying all types of bad things about him that day under my breath.”

Bobier got the most of his players through tough love, winning four straight state championships at Valley from 1980-83. In 30 years of coaching, he won 604 games — he went 204-100 at Valley after moving to Las Vegas from Wichita, Kan.

On Friday, Bobier will receive the most prestigious honor for a local sports figure when he’s inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame. The six-person class also includes tennis great Andre Agassi and the UFC’s Dana White.

Bobier, who died in 2001 at age 70, is finally getting his due. The Hall’s selection committee in the past few years has picked individuals — those whom fans aren’t familiar with — to enter posthumously.

“It was a real shocker,” Tom Aldershof, Bobier's son, said about learning of his father’s selection. “Since it has taken so long, I thought they had forgotten.”

For players such as Banks, who after leaving Valley became one of the best players in UNLV history, they’ll never forget the lessons taught by Bobier. He was a disciplinarian, stressed the game’s fundamentals and helped players become winners on and off the court.

And if he didn’t like the way you performed, he didn’t hesitate letting you know.

“He yelled a lot. He yelled constantly,” Banks said. “There was never a dull moment. A lot of people couldn’t take it and thought he was a mean guy, but he just wanted to get the most out of us.

“When he passed, I was really hurt. He helped me out tremendously and made an impact on us all. He really took good care of me.”

Bobier also coached football and baseball at Valley, but it was on the basketball court where he made his most significant mark. His teams were typically undersized, but he always had his players prepared to create mismatches and give them an advantage.

The four straight state championships hasn’t been duplicated in Nevada’s large-school classification.

“He made us play hard every day,” Banks said. “There was an expectation to win but more of an expectation to play hard. If you played hard, you won.”

When Daryl Branham became the Valley coach in 2000, Bobier was frequently in the crowd on game days. After games, Branham would seek pointers from his mentor.

“Kids wanted to play for the best, and Bill was the best in town,” Branham said. “He was a great fundamentals teacher of offense and defense. Bill always instilled winning both on and off the floor with the kids. He made sure the kids did things the right way.”

Bobier’s philosophies are still being used in local programs. Banks is the head coach at Canyon Springs, and Coronado’s Jeff Kaufman and former Rancho and Mojave coach Tony Hopkins also played for Bobier. Coaches from other programs were assistants under Bobier.

At Coronado, Kaufman runs several of the same offensive formations from his days at Valley. He even has pages of Bobier’s hand-written notes and plays — valuable for game-planning and obvious sentimental reasons.

“If you look at high school basketball today in the Las Vegas area, the roots from Bobier and Valley are predominant,” Kaufman said.

Banks also uses some of Bobier’s philosophies — from the style his Canyon Springs team plays to some of those rules that seemed odd at the time.

“Bobier, he didn’t let us talk to young ladies," said Banks, who is also part of the Hall. “If you get caught talking to young ladies, you will be running.”

The induction ceremony is at 6 p.m. Friday at the Orleans Arena. Other inductees include: Pat Christensen, the Las Vegas Events president; professional golfer Stephanie Louden; and Las Vegas Motor Speedway president Chris Powell.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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