When we left you last week, we were on our way to Lincoln Hall in the wee hours of a very cold January morning. Having obeyed Coach Jim Aiken’s instructions to go to the Hall, find a bed and call on him in the a.m., I was surprised to find the main door locked. Looking down the covered porch, I saw a single door so I proceeded to bang on it until I had roused Dean Robert Griffin from his slumber. He unlocked the front door and told me to find an empty bed in one of the rooms. This proved extremely difficult as there were no lights on. After rousing several occupants, I finally found an empty sack and got to lie down for the first time in a week.
Upon awakening, I found I had a roommate and when I asked him his name, he replied, “Vucanovich from Tonopah.”It was the first time I met George with whom I was later to spend time in Korea and later back at the university. Since George was also on a basketball scholarship, we were teammates at the U, in Korea and in the Reno City League.
Our first stop that morning was for breakfast at Gow Hall. After that, I made my way to Coach Aiken’s office. I found Aiken to be a stocky individual, about 5’10” and sporting a very thick pair of eyeglasses. After exchanging introductions, his first question was, “Let me see your clippings.” When I realized he meant newspaper clippings of my basketball experience, I told him that my mother kept them in a scrapbook close by her bedside. The explanation seemed to satisfy him, and then he said, “Show me your hands.” When I did so he said, “Not very big for a basketball player.” I responded that they were big enough so that I could palm a ball. Following this brief encounter, he asked if there was anything else I needed before I went to the registrar to sign up for classes. I replied that my one piece of luggage, a wooden army-style footlocker, had not arrived on the bus that delivered me to Reno. The Greyhound agent had told me it would probably arrive sometime later in the day. I told the coach I didn’t know how I was going to get it from the bus station to the university. He responded by saying, “Take my car.” And he tossed me his keys. He then stepped to the window to show me where he had parked. I guess I was expecting to see some grand sedan. Instead it was a dull green Model A Coupe complete with rumble seat.
When I arrived at the bus station, my footlocker was too big to fit in the front seat so I tossed in the open rumble seat. In doing so, the sharp edge happened to rip through the worn leather. I figured that my entrance to the U was doomed from the start.