LAS VEGAS - For Runnin' Rebels Head Coach Dave Rice, Thursday was about a cause greater than basketball.
"Today, we're very proud to announce the establishment of the Dave Rice Foundation," he said.
The foundation will support health initiatives that target developmental disorders with an emphasis on autism.
"We feel like we have a chance to make a difference," Rice said. "We're humbled by the outpouring of support from our board, from the many people in Las Vegas who've stepped up to be a part of the event committee, and there's plenty of room for more. It's a cause that's near and dear to our heart."
Dave's 9-year-old son Dylan was diagnosed with autism a few years ago after many trips to the doctor and three years of uncertainty.
"Originally, we were told it was just a speech delay," said Dave Rice's wife Mindy Rice. "As he got older, we realized there was more to it and started going to doctors - went to a lot of doctors."
They hope the foundation will help other parents get answers much more quickly.
"It's just so important for us to be able to give back and to try to help parents, so they won't have to go through that same three-year struggle that we went through," Dave said.
Dave and Mindy talked about forming the foundation for years. Now that he's running the show at the Thomas and Mack Center, he has the perfect platform to help autistic children.
"Certainly being at UNLV, it gives me that opportunity," he said. "We talk with our players all the time about making a difference."
"To have that platform, to be able to help others and to know that you can make a difference in someone else's life is really wonderful," Mindy added.
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