Eric Musselman to remain Nevada men's basketball coach
RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) —
Eric Musselman has decided to remain Nevada men's basketball head coach after agreeing in principal to a contract extension, the school's athletic department has confirmed.
“My family and I love Northern Nevada and the Wolf Pack community," Musselman said in a statement. "I love the bond we have created as a team and I’m extremely excited about the future of Wolf Pack basketball.”
Gary Parrish of CBS Sports first reported that Musselman met with Cal officials twice but decided to remain at Nevada. The coach is currently working on a new deal with Nevada, Parrish says.
News 4 spoke with Parrish this morning where he detailed how he found out about Musselman staying with the Wolf Pack:
"I got a text message late last night from a source saying, 'Hey, I know he's talked him. I know he's involved. He looks like he might be the front runner.' So I followed up on that this morning. Came to find out pretty quickly that he actually met with Cal officials twice and was never technically offered the job, but he was considered at one point the front runner. Ultimately he did what any man or woman does when presented with a job opportunity. You weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for you and your family. He ultimately decided that he'd rather just do a new deal with Nevada than possibly jump to Cal right now."
Parrish also acknowledged that one of the big reasons why the former NBA head coach could be staying is because of what the Pack could bring to the court in 2017-2018 saying, "He's got a really good team returning. A team that should win the Mountain West Conference next season regardless of if Cameron Oliver comes back or not. If Cameron comes back, you're talking about Top 25 pre-season stuff. If he doesn't, you're still talking about Mountain West Conference championship stuff. The truth is coaches move around every year, but they're always hesitant to walk away from good situations, and Muss has got a really good situation now at Nevada, so he's going to do it for at the very least one more year."
Parrish also cited Musselman's differing resume from other new Division I head coaches as another reason for him to stick with Nevada:
"He's not like your normal second-year Division I head coach. He's not chasing a career the way some other guys who are only second-year Division I head coaches might be. He's been in the NBA. He's made money. I think he values a situation way more than he values a quick pay check, or a bump up that might be perceived by some in stature. He wants to win basketball games, and he wants to be in the NCAA tournament. I think he accurately figured out that the best way to do that, at least in the 2017-18 season, is to just remain at Nevada."
In terms of an actual deal with Nevada, Parrish says as of press time those details are still being negotiated but it is fair to say that Musselman left some money on the table considering the differences between a Pac-12 and Mountain West job.
Parrish also warned of this being the first of many instances that Musselman's name could be brought up in coaching talks saying that he has "caught the attention of athletic directors all over the country" and has "done one the quickest and best rebuilding jobs in America."
He also added Musselman now stands in the upper echelon of mid-major coaches.
"The good news if you're a Nevada fan, and you really should take some pride in this, is that now you're in that paragraph. You have a coach outside of the Power Five structure that teams in power conference programs are interested in. Dayton has Archie Miller, Wichita State has Gary Marshall, and Nevada has Eric Musselman. I don't think it's a stretch to put those three programs and names in the same sentence... If you're Nevada, and you have the resources to invest, what you try to do when you find a coach of Musselman's caliber is build it to a point where it really has to be a special situation for him to walk away from you and then you keep him as long as you can."
Nevada announced plans to build the Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center, a building to be primarily used as a basketball practice facility, in October.
On Tuesday, there were reports that Musselman interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Cal.
According to Jordan Schultz of the Bleacher Report, Musselman was one of four candidates for the position.
Musselman led Nevada to a 28-7 record and the first round of the NCAA tournament, where the Wolf Pack lost to Iowa State, 84-73, on Thursday, March 16.