It was on September 14, 1968 that Nevada Southern University started their football program with a Division II team. It was also decided that Bill Ireland would be the first coach of this newly-formed group.
The Rebels’ very first game saw them winning against St. Mary’s Gaels in front of 8,000 fans in a packed and roaring Cashman Field. The score was 27-20. The Rebels had a highly successful inaugural season, winning every game until their last one against Carl Lutheran Kingsmen, which they lost 17-13. They ended their first season with an 8-1 record.
The succeeding season saw the Rebels opening against their in-state foes the Nevada Wolf Pack. They lost that game 30-28. They would beat their rivals the following year.
It wasn’t until 1971 though that the Rebels went up against a Division I school in Utah State of the PCAA. They were beaten resoundingly by a more mature squad 27-7. That same year, the Rebels moved to Las Vegas Stadium and christened their new home with a game against Weber State, which they lost.
The 1972 season was a dismal one for the Rebels, with them ending with a very disappointing 1-10 record. Bill Ireland was let go after that.