Former Coach Charlie Spoonhour Passes Away

Feb. 1, 2012

LAS VEGAS ( - Charlie Spoonhour, who was UNLV's men's basketball head coach from 2001-04, passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 72 at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., surrounded by his family.

Known affectionately as "Spoon," he coached the Runnin' Rebels to a 54-31 (.635) record in his two-plus seasons at UNLV. He resigned in February of 2004 because of health issues and his son, Jay, served as the interim head coach for the remainder of that season.

"This is a terribly sad day for UNLV basketball," said UNLV Deputy Athletics Director Jerry Koloskie, who is the school's administrator for the men's basketball program. "He was a great guy and a great friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Vicki, Jay, and the entire Spoonhour family."

Spoonhour was named the United States Basketball Writers Association's District VIII Coach of the Year after leading UNLV to a 21-11 mark in his first season at UNLV (2001-02), which included a second-round postseason National Invitation Tournament appearance. He followed up in year two with another 21-11 overall record and a NIT berth. When he stepped down, the Runnin' Rebels were 12-9 in 2003-04 and that team went on to play in the NIT.

All three of Spoonhour's UNLV teams reached the championship game of the Mountain West Tournament.

"Coach Spoon was an incredible person," said Dave Rice, current head coach of the Runnin' Rebels and former UNLV assistant coach under Spoonhour. "I learned so much from him about coaching, but more important, he taught us how to keep things in perspective and showed us how to be better people. He truly made a difference and had the unique ability to make everyone around him feel so special."

Spoonhour became UNLV's 12th head coach in program history after spending time as a college basketball broadcaster. He was the head coach at Saint Louis University from 1992-99 and won the 1994 National Coach of the Year Award while with the Billikens. Prior to coaching at SLU, Spoonhour was head coach at Southwest Missouri State University for nine seasons (1983-92).

Over 19 years as a Division I head coach, Spoonhour compiled a career mark of 373-202 (.649). His teams made it to the postseason 14 times including eight to the NCAA Tournament.

Spoonhour had a lung transplant in 2010 after having been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis - a scarring of the lungs.