Had UNLV coach Dave Rice driven past the Buffalo Drive exit on Interstate 215 earlier this week, a roadside billboard encouraging Rebels fans to buy basketball and football season tickets might have caught him by surprise.
There was a basketball coach featured on the billboard ... but it wasn't Rice.
Pictured on the billboard alongside the slogan "COME TO OUR HOUSE!" were current UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck and former UNLV basketball coach Lon Kruger. Rice took over the UNLV basketball program in spring 2011 after Kruger left to become the new coach at Oklahoma.
How did the gaffe happen? Did a UNLV marketing staffer experience a momentary brain lapse? Apparently, that's not the case. Outdoor signage maker Clear Channel Outdoor Las Vegas took the blame for the billboard blunder on its Facebook page.
"We’re sorry Coach Rice! While waiting for a new vinyl to be produced to go up on the bulletin at 215 and Buffalo, we mistakenly pulled outdated generic copy from our warehouse to cover the blank space. Within a few hours of it being up, the RJ had a story posted covering the faux pas. That vinyl is already down and set to be recycled and more relevant copy will soon be posted in its place.
"On the bright side, this incident proves that people take notice of out-of-home advertising and that old vinyl still looks great! Still, we won’t be making that mistake again. Go Rebels!"
Credit the signage company for apologizing for its mistake. And credit Rice for being a good sport about it.
Said Rice to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday, "I’m the last person who would take himself too seriously. Hey, if Coach Kruger can help us sell tickets, great.”