Written By: Joseph Gallegos
On January 10th, 2016 UNLV made a decision that would affect the program for the next 3 years. They fired head coach Dave Rice after four & half seasons with UNLV, where he went 98-54, and made 2 appearances in the NCAA tournament.
That offseason, the hiring process was a complete disaster. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, did. UNLV first had their eyes set on Mick Cronin from the University of Cincinnati. After a meeting Cronin had “allegedly” agreed to become the next coach. However, he used UNLV as leverage to get a bigger contract with Cincinnati. By the next day, he left Vegas to sign an extension with his Original school
Faith was beginning to fade in the athletic department. Especially with the players. Shortly after the Cronin bailed, 12 players left the UNLV basketball program. UNLV basketball was slowly falling apart. However, the mood changed days later. Reports were coming in that Arkansas Little rock head coach Chris Beard was going to become the next coach. On March 27th, it was made official, Chris Beard was the next coach… for the time being. In his first year, Beard went 30-5 at Arkansas, and went to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament.
It was a slam dunk hire. Things were finally back on track. Then things took a turn for the worst. After just 2 weeks on the job, many people became uncertain of Beards future at UNLV. Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith left for the University of Memphis. How does this relate to Chris Beard many asked. Well, Chris Beard spent nearly a decade as an assistant at Texas Tech and grew up just outside of Lubbock Texas. Days following the departure of Tubby Smith, Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt flew out to Vegas to meet with Chris Beard, and the next day, he was gone. Beard has been at Texas Tech for 3 years now. He has led the program to two elite 8’s, and a Final Four. Leaving Rebel fans thinking what could’ve been.
UNLV was now without a coach, again. It was late April, and the program desperately needed a head coach. Not to mention, the team only had 3 players on the active roster. UNLV quickly decided that Marvin Menzies would be their next coach.
Now, let’s fast forward to 2019. Marvin Menzies has been the head coach for 3 years, and was 48-48. Less than 24 hours after UNLV’s season ended, so did Menzies career at UNLV. Yet again, UNLV was in the same spot. No coach, & no players as members of the team began exploring transferring.
As soon as the hiring process began UNLV failed landing Nate oats, and Porter moser who were the school’s top candidates. 11 days later, the school announced T.J Otzelberger would be named the next coach. The fans reaction was an absolute outrage of anger. However, the mood changed after Otzelberger’s first 3 weeks in the job.
He killed the press conference, kept the majority of the UNLV roster, & began recruiting top prospect players.
Rebels fans hope to see a whole new style when they roll out that red carpet next fall.