Tourney in Reno for back-to-back seasons

Updated: October 1, 2004, 4:42 PM ET

RENO, Nev. -- Nevada will host the Western Athletic Conference men's and women's basketball tournament in Reno again in 2006, the WAC's board of directors voted Friday.

It will mark the second year in a row the league tourney will be held at the 11,200-seat Lawlor Events Center, which is hosting the 2005 championship March 8-12.

"There is already a tremendous amount of excitement for this year's tournament in Reno, so a second year will only help the event continue to grow," WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said Friday.

"The Reno-Lake Tahoe area is a great site for our tournament that will provide plenty of entertainment and vacation opportunities for fans," he said in a statement from league headquarters in Denver.

Robert Kustra, chairman of the WAC board of directors and president of Boise State, said the board accepted the joint bid from the University of Nevada, Reno and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. The 2006 tourney will be played March 7-11.

It will be the first time Nevada has hosted the basketball tournament since joining the WAC in 2000. The school has hosted several other conference tourneys, including the women's volleyball championship this year for the third year in a row.

Nevada hosted the Big West Conference basketball tourney five times from 1996-2000. The Wolf Pack finished 25-9 last season and made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament's round of 16.

Salt Lake City, Fresno, Calif., and Boise, Idaho all made bids to host the 2006 WAC tournament. Fresno State hosted the 2004 tourney.

When Nevada made its bid for the 2005 event back in 2002, the board's vote was temporarily delayed because one school president raised concerns about the state's legalized gambling. But those concerns later were addressed and the site approved.

After the 2004-05 school year, Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UTEP will leave the WAC to join Conference USA.

Utah State, Idaho and New Mexico will join the WAC for the 2005-2006 season, along with continuing league members Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada and San Jose State.