Iowa State soccer coach, other athletes and coaches describe Las Vegas shooting

Head coach Tony Minatta grumbles after the Cyclones let up a second goal. The Cyclones lost 2-0 to Texas Tech on homecoming, the final home game of the regular season. The Cyclones finished 0-8 in Big 12 conference play.

Brian Mozey

Iowa State women’s soccer coach Tony Minatta woke up this morning and picked up his phone. The first thing he did was go on his Facebook to check up on his friends and family from the other day.

When he got onto Facebook, he had many notifications. He clicked on his notifications to see a bunch of his friends from Las Vegas marking themselves as safe.

“I thought that was weird in the sense of why do they have to mark themselves as safe when they’re just hanging out in [Las] Vegas,” Minatta said.

Then, he checked the news and realized the meaning behind the safe mark. The United States had the biggest mass shooting in the country’s modern history after a 64-year-old man, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, killing at least 58 people and injuring over 500 more Sunday night, according to the Associated Press.

Luckily, Minatta’s friends are all safe and accounted for, but this event made him think about his time in Las Vegas as a college student.

Minatta attended the University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) from 2001 to 2003 to earn a Bachelor’s degree in English. After graduation, he spent 2004 in the city and continuing his job from his college years.

He was a bartender and, later, a bar manager for a nightclub called Club Utopia, which was one of the most popular nightclubs in the early 2000s. Club Utopia was next to MGM at the time, but is no longer a nightclub in Las Vegas.

“It was a great time and I had a lot of fun working there for a few years,” Minatta said. “The main reason why I love Vegas is because anyone can go there and express themselves.”

For Minatta, this event hit him hard because he spent his college years there and continued to go back there to see his friends on occasion. He remembers being in the Mandalay Bay on multiple occasions and being around that area.

He said that the Las Vegas police is one of the best police forces he knows because they stop events from happening very quickly before they become major, troubling events.

“Just to know that, there is nowhere safe for you to be able to go and have a good time,” Minatta said. “It’s frustrating because there’s really no rules in Las Vegas and what’s that going to do in the future [because of this event].”

Minatta appreciates the diversity of people in Las Vegas and the freedom to express themselves no matter what race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or culture the individual might be. Vegas accepts everyone, he said.

The biggest question to Minatta is, why? Why would anyone want to hurt others and carry out these types of actions to a group of people listening to Jason Aldean at a concert? And, how do we, as a country, move forward so this doesn’t happen again?

Minatta described Las Vegas in an easy manner.

“Vegas is a town where if you want to get prime rib at five o’clock in the morning, you can get prime rib at five o’clock in the morning,” Minatta said. “I had a great time and again it didn’t matter who you were because everyone was treated the same.”

The main thing is that Minatta doesn’t want people to be afraid of Las Vegas because of this incident because people can’t control these types of events.

“[This event] has tarnished what Vegas is all about,” Minatta said. “Because it’s a place for people to escape and forget about all their troubles and then this happens. It’s frustrating and unfortunate. Solidarity is what we need right now to show we aren’t afraid.

“I’m not going to not go back [to Vegas] because of [this event]. I love that town.”

Other Iowa State coaches and athletes react on Twitter