Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Friday, April 25, 2014 | 11:08 a.m.
Updated Friday, April 25, 2014 | 1:41 p.m.
Stability was Dave Rice’s top priority and the UNLV basketball coach now has more of that after the Board of Regents today approved a two-year extension at a special meeting. The motion, which keeps Rice under contract through 2019 with no guaranteed raise, passed by an 11-2 vote.
“I’m grateful to President (Don) Snyder and Athletic Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy for their confidence in me and of course very appreciate of the Board of Regents for approving the extension,” Rice said. “It sends a very strong message to our returning players and also to recruits about how bright the future of our program is.”
Rice had three years remaining on his deal at $700,000 annually when rumors started swirling on March 28 about an offers to take over South Florida’s program. When Rice and his wife, Mindy, met with his UNLV bosses, adding years, and thus adding confidence, was the most important part of the discussions.
The South Florida offer was reportedly for six years at $1.3 million per year. Rice’s new deal keeps his total compensation the same with some added bonuses available to his base salary.
“The money wasn’t the important thing to Dave,” Kunzer-Murphy said. “It was to be able to stay at UNLV and to do what he set out to do, and that’s to continue on this road to building a championship team not only in the classroom but on the court.”
Rice’s base salary stays at $300,000 with the possibility of becoming $400,000 in the future. He can earn one-time base salary increases of $50,000 for a regular season Mountain West title (including a tie) and $50,000 for a conference tournament title and/or making the NCAA Tournament. Those would take effect on July 1, 2015.
The rest of his contract amount remains the same, including his original performance bonuses. An annual $50,000 completion bonus folds into his media appearance fees, making that $350,000 per season, and he also gets $50,000 for UNLV’s contract with Nike.
So, overall, the contract remains at $700,000 annually. He can earns year-to-year additional compensation bonuses of $10,000 for a regular season conference title, a conference tournament title or a conference coach of the year award. There’s also a $25,000 bonus for making the NCAA Tournament and a $50,000 bonus for each NCAA Tournament victory.
Were he to take another job, Rice’s buyout would be $1 million as of March 31, 2015. It decreases by $250,000 until the final year, when it would be $125,000. If UNLV fired Rice, the university would owe him the remaining base salary for the life of the contract.
The two votes against came from vice chairman Rick Trachok and regent Ron Knecht, who both represent northern counties. After several positive comments about Rice, regent Cedric Crear, who represents District 1 in Clark County and later voted yes, wanted to point out the Rebels’ recent struggles. That includes player departures and no postseason in 2014.
“I would be remised if we acted like everything is fantastic over at that basketball program because it’s not,” Crear said.
Rice addressed Crear’s comments directly while thanking the board for approving his deal.
“We have to be more consistently better and I take that very, very seriously,” Rice said, “on and off the court.”