Notebook: UNLV AD Jim Livengood’s coaching search heats up in Houston

Livengood meets with Dave Rice at Final Four, also has feelers out to Reggie Theus and Mike Dunlap, among others


Justin M. Bowen

UNLV Athletic Director Jim Livengood, shown in this file photo, is meeting with prospects to become UNLV’s next basketball coach while in Houston for Final Four weekend. Rebels coach Lon Kruger announced his resignation on Friday.

Updated Sunday, April 3, 2011 | 12:30 a.m.

Lon Kruger at UNLV

UNLV coach Lon Kruger waves to fans after cutting down the net following UNLV's 78-70 win over BYU in the Mountain West Conference championship game Saturday, March 10, 2007. Launch slideshow »

KSNV: Lon Kruger Leaving UNLV?

Ryan Greene discusses the potential departure of Lon Kruger as the UNLV Men's Basketball coach.

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Now, the process kicks into full gear for UNLV Athletic Director Jim Livengood.

He arrived in Houston for the Final Four weekend on Friday afternoon, and the timing of head coach Lon Kruger's departure from UNLV for the same job at Oklahoma likely couldn't have been better.

With much of the coaching world in town with him for the end of the NCAA tournament, Livengood has wasted no time meeting and talking with candidates.

In his first 24 hours in town, he already had a chance to meet with BYU associate head coach Dave Rice, who many consider to be the front-runner for UNLV's vacant position.

The Sun learned on Saturday that feelers have also already been put out to former UNLV great Reggie Theus — a Minnesota Timberwolves assistant who is currently on the road in Memphis — and St. John's assistant coach Mike Dunlap along with a few others.

Theus's name has been attached to the opening along with Rice's right from go, while Dunlap has previous ties to Livengood, who brought him to Arizona as the Wildcats' associate head coach in the 2008-09 season. He then spent a year at Oregon after Sean Miller got the head coaching position at Arizona before last year, and now is with Steve Lavin in New York. However, Dunlap has deep West Coast ties and is rumored to be wanting to get back closer to home. He's a defensive guru who is considered one of the nation's up-and-coming head coaching candidates.

"I had a chance last night, then today and tomorrow to meet with many people," Livengood said. "The pool becomes who makes the most sense and is the best fit for UNLV right now. The best candidate five years ago might not be the best fit right now.

"The big thing right now is we don't want to go too fast, but we have to hurry, too."

On Friday night, a source within the UNLV athletic administration said that the process would likely be completed within two weeks. When asked on Saturday morning, Livengood said he expects that it should be 'faster than that.'

Livengood will return to Las Vegas on Tuesday morning.

From Tark …

It should come as no surprise, but legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian said he backs both Rice and Theus as candidates for the job that made him famous.

Rice played on UNLV's Final Four teams in 1990 and 1991, while Theus suited up for the Rebels in Tark's early days in the late 1970s.

"Dave's been around some people who are good basketball people," he said. "Reggie took New Mexico State to the NCAA tournament in his second year, and I thought did a great job with the Sacramento Kings — I was shocked when he got fired there.

"First, they're UNLV guys. They know the system, know the people, know a lot about the program. I think they'd both be really good coaches."

Rice's name was earlier connected with openings at Wyoming and Bradley, while Theus is also in the conversation for the still-open post at Fresno State.

A third former Rebel is also expressing some interest, according to Tarkanian — Larry Johnson.

The former national Player of the Year who led UNLV to the 1990 NCAA title spends his time between Dallas and Vegas, but might be better suited for an assistant coaching job on the new staff rather than the top job.

Grandy Glaze reacts …

UNLV's two 2013 commits — Nigel Williams-Goss and Dantley Walker — shared their thoughts about Kruger's departure on Friday night.

The program's lone incoming freshman, Grandy Glaze, was reached via e-mail for reaction on Saturday.

"I am a little surprised, but I know it is a business," he said. "Coach is a grown man and he can do whatever it is he feels is best for him and his family. I am still a Rebel and would love to meet the new coach. I want to see what new system he brings in to the program, so I am definitely looking forward to that."

Glaze is already signed to a binding national letter of intent, but appears to be patient with the current situation. He is due to arrive on campus in early June.

The original connection that led Glaze to UNLV was between his AAU coach, Mike George, and now-former Rebels assistant coach Greg Grensing.

Update on USC transfer Bryce Jones ...

Bryce Jones, a 6-foot-5 USC transfer who took an official visit to UNLV last weekend, isn't giving up on UNLV just yet, despite the coaching change.

Jones, who is also considering San Diego State and Gonzaga as options, said the school and program as a whole made a strong enough impression on him and his family that he's going to wait out UNLV's coaching search and see if he's still wanted by the new regime.

"I enjoyed the school a lot," he said when reached by phone on Saturday night. "Whoever they bring in, if I feel comfortable and there's still a possibility of coming, I still may go there.

"I'm not putting them aside at all."

Whoever takes over for the departed Lon Kruger, barring defections by current players, will have one open scholarship remaining going into the 2011-12 season.

The official visit to UNLV was Jones's first in his second time through the recruiting process. He has two more planned — One starting on April 8 at SDSU and another to Gonzaga beginning on April 22.

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  1. I'm just not sure Dave Rice can recruit the 4 and 5 star talent we were lacking with Kruger. Is there any reason to believe he can?

  2. Are we seriously not bringin up bruce pearl in here??? he fits vegas so well. It could be the spark we need. both UNLV and Bruce will be on a redemptio road. Why take chances on assistant guys when we can have a a sure thing? AND DONT give me that Tennesse mumbo jumbo because the man can recruit talent and the man wins..

  3. I think that Reggie Theus with Larry Johnson as assistant is an exciting combination, not discounting what Rice brings to the table. Rice and LJ could be good too. My only question about LJ, he was a great player until his back and knees wore out -- but how is his basketball mind?

  4. you can't take Pearl because he broke the rules then lied about it. maybe if it were a year from now, but UNLV needs to stay squeaky clean. I think Dave Rice with LJ or Theus would be awesome but I don't think LJ and Theus want to be assistants. Rice just can't be passed up...great offensive mind, great recruiter, understands UNLV and it's history, and is also CHEAP. We can't afford to pay more than a million dollars, and Rice could be brought in for far less than, wouldn't it be awesome to have a former Rebel player as our coach?!?!

  5. Pearl is a bad idea, a guy who has made questionable choices to date in a town with the opportunity to make more poor choices is a bad idea. I hope Rice gets the job.

  6. Man..he made a mistake. big deal. but admit it. he fita the style of UNLV perfectly fellas. Plys im sure he wont make the same mistakes twice

  7. Dave vanilla choice who will NEVER get the Rebels to an elite level!! MICHAEL PECK IS THE GUY!!!! Peck can recruit better than Calipari at Kentucky!! Peck has contacts world-wide and all across the U.S.!! Pressure defense and up-tempo offense are his mantra (remind you of a short bald Armenian?)!! He can FLAT OUT COACH (ask any player or coach he's faced!)!! He's only 39 years old with a great family!! If Rebels ever want to win a NATIONAL TITLE again, PECK IS THE GUY!!!!


  8. It looks like according to the poll the fans want Theus.

  9. Sure hope we don't lose Glaze, an intriguing prospect. I like the idea of Pearl, seems like a somewhat shady but energetic coach, but then I cringe at the thought of the NCAA breathing down our necks again. Rice might be the way to go.

  10. Theus no doubt seems to be the emerging popular choice, but my bet is on Rice getting the offer. I'm excited either way, I think the Rebs went about as far as they were going to go w/ Kruger (not to take away anything that he's done for them). We need a new shot in the arm and whether it's Theus or Rice, or somebody else entirely, I just hope it's someone who can fire up Marshall, Lopez and the rest to take it to another level next year. For whatever reason, passion and motivation seemed to be noticeably absent this season. This change is a needed plus.

  11. I'd be happy with any of the three choices that were presented in this article. I was intrigued by the idea of Bruce Pearl, but UNLV just can't afford to take a chance on him given the whole "lying to the NCAA thing" in Tennessee. No doubt he recruits well, no doubt he wins, but its been 15-20 years and we are STILL on the NCAA's radar.
    Its going to more than likely come down to Theus and Rice. I like Rice because he has a great offensive mind, was the head of recruiting at BYU, former Rebel, won't cost as much as a "big name guy" (UNLV budget considerations) and his brother coaches the Gorman team. I'm not saying his brother at Gorman gets us Shabazz and all the others, but it sure couldn't hurt. Just think of it this way, he was able to get good athletes to go play in Provo! Now he gets to sell Vegas. Either way, its good to see the process will be moving quickly. Its great to hear Glaze is still escited to be a Rebel. Job one for whoever gets the job is to get in touch with Nigel Williams-Goss and make sure he stays committed.

  12. As an Arizona Wildcat fan I want to thank UNLV for hiring Jim Livengood. But, I'll get to the point. Take a look at Livengood's history, I bet he goes for the guy he hired while at Washington State. I'll leave it up to you to research...

  13. I lean toward Theus because of his grooming under Pitino and his recruiting prowess. Rice would be ok because of his connections to Bishop Gorman and he has alot more experience at the college level than Theus. Whoever it is I hope Livengood considers style of play. I am so tired of the Rebs scoring in the 60's. Get that ball up and down the floor and play with reckless abandon. No slow down coaches!!!!

  14. Bring in Quinn Snyder...

  15. Lj would be a great assistant coach and has a great basketball mind. If you remember the bulls offered him an assistant coaching job last year and he turned it down to spend more time with his teenage kids. I say assistant because I need to see some experience. How about Stacy augman while we are at it. He is an assistant for Denver nuggets for years. Just saying.

  16. Let me break open the real minds here:


  17. Its a darn shame that Greg anthony hasnt gone the coaching route...he seems such a natural.

  18. That being said.....Theus for head coach. Rice assistant coach.

  19. Pat Knight is available.

  20. If you want to take UNLV to the next level you have to get someone that can recruit top level talent. That person is Reggie Theus not Dave Rice. Look at his recruiting resume and then ask yourself if you want to give the job to Rice who has NEVER been a head coach. THEUS!

  21. Moses Scurry!!! Nuf said!

  22. Theus is by far the best choice.
    He would be able to recruit with the Duke's, N.C.,
    UCLA, etc.
    Rice would not be able to reach inner city kids.
    If they don't hire Theus UNLV will just stay average.

  23. Dave Rice is the SAFE choice! Michael Peck is the BOLD choice that can take UNLV to an ELITE LEVEL!! He recruited waaaayyyy better than Kruger the last four years...Avery Bradley (now on the Celtics!), Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson (both Texas Longhorns!)...ALL TOP 15 recruits!!! His contacts are world-wide and across the U.S.!! He can flat out COACH!! Pressure defense and up-tempo offense are his mantra!! ALL his kids graduate AND qualify for D-1!! Anyone he wants to bring from Findlay Prep will come with him...and right there, you have a recruiting class that surpasses any of Kruger's!! His players love him...the same can't be said for Kruger!! He's a PROVEN WINNER with TWO NATIONAL TITLES and a runner-up in 4 years!!!


  24. Livengood offered Tim Floyd to go to Arizona, then the USC stuff blew up. Floyd has gone on and been rehabbed coaching UTEP within a hoop to going to the NCAA tourney. Kelvin Sampson was at Wazzu, same with Tony Bennett and George Raveling - which is over the hill. Sampson, Raveling and Floyd had NCAA issues.

    Pearl would be great and would get national attention to the program, he would need to get his NCAA issues solved before a hire however. The guy was even the whistle blower on a Big Ten program that was in violation of NCAA rules.

    If he listens to UNLV die hards- Theus paid his dues by getting his degree and becoming a Head Coach having success. He wanted the job the last time and money was not driving the issue. Rice - we talk about recruiting - other than Jimmer is there anyone on that roster that is better than any current UNLV starter? No.

    Reggie can recruit nationally. Shaka Smart would be an exciting energetic Coach. We may see some big names with interest and Jim needs to balance proven experience, youth and those who are looking for a job to retire at. He can take a run at Mack at Xavier, since Miller has done a great job at Arizona. Bringing up a Duke Assistant Coach with the track record of Coach K's underlings not being so hot and the fact that there is little love between Duke and UNLV - how can this be taken seriously.

    Livengood needs basketball to be the Cash cow to support all of UNLV's other sports. Oregon threw money at everyone, settled on Dana Altman who did a great job in year one. I just hope if he has any bad feelings about Theus that he puts them on the sideline, as the guy has roots here with the program and has paid his dues. Go get Augmon from the Nuggets staff along with Sid Green with a connected AAU or High School Coach - be it Peck or Rice at Gorman. SDSU is really worried that their head recruiter who found Leonard will get picked up by the next UNLV Head Coach.

    Rice can not get Fresno State or Eastern Washington to consider him for their Head Coaching jobs. Theus is wanted by several programs. College Basketball is much about the Head Coach, we need some one with Charisma - Theus has it. If not him then a proven winner like a Kent, Romar, Marshall, Few, Smart, Pearl, Mack or Wright (former UNLV Assistant Coach) would all get recruits that Lon could not get.

  25. Don't discount that the AD may be doing a little looking around for his ownself down there in Houston.

  26. I was thinking the same thing RealityReb. I think greg anthony would be a good coach. He makes charles and kenny look like fools with his knowledge of the game. That said, I think theus or rice could get us to that next level. The key though is to land a good staff. Augman is a proven assistant who would bring you the LA connection for recruiting. LJ could possibly bring the coaching our bigs would need to get the best out of them. Also grabbing an assistant who knows the AAU circuit would be a major plus. Either way, I think this is an exciting time for rebels basketball.

  27. I think rice for coach
    Theus for AD
    LJ for major
    Green for county commissioner
    Augmon for governor
    And anthony for president.

    Long live unlv.

  28. Everyone should not get their hopes up that suddenly we are going to turn into an offensive machine even if a run and gun coach is hired. It will take several years before you get the right type of players in here. With the lack of shooters coming back the same glaring offensive deficiencies are going to be present. Only Marshall probably would excel iin that type of system even if he is a poor shooter. I doubt anyone but Krueger would win with this group of players which is perfectly understandable since he naturally recruited players that fit his style of play. I hope we get someone who plays with a more upbeat style but I'm realistic enough to know the guys coming back are not going to suddenly become great offensive players.

    I also will never understand the mindset that just because someone went to a certain school that guy automatically becomes the best choice, no matter how good the team was. Now it's almost getting ridiculous because any name can be thrown out on these boards. And that guy would be a great assistant coach, despite no one knowing anything about his ability to coach, simply because he was a Rebel.

  29. "Doubt anyone but Kruger would win with this group of players"

    Are you serious!?! Kruger was great and I'll always appreciate what he did for this program, but the team was winning last year playing a style that they were not built to play. The reason the lack of shooters was such an issue was because of the style of play on offense. Kruger's offense was so dependant on shooting the three well that when we lost Shaw and Wallace and then Bellfield hurt his wrist, we had some huge problems. What this team needs is a coach that will open up the offense and let them use their athleticism. Didn't you notice at the end of the season, when the offense opened up a bit, we looked a lot better on offense. Kruger recruited these players essentially to play his defense, and that worked out most of the time, but the offensive plan wasn't adjusted to fit the players he had, which too often led to scoring droughts, which killed us.

    Wallace will be back next year and Moser is a good shooter as well. The team is stocked with above average defenders and enough talent on offense to be a very good team next year. Who knows, the new coach may even play players consistenly in the positions they should be playing. They may not turn into great offensive players overnight, but they may be put in situations in which they are more likely to succeed.

    As far as former Rebels being a good fit as assistants, yes, I think most of those mentioned would be good. Greg Anthony knows basketball as well as anyone. Augmon is an assistant in the NBA and LJ was offered an assistant job by the Bulls. Would you rather have Lew Hill, who was a guard, as our "big man" coach or someone like LJ who actually played Power Forward? I'll take LJ. I didn't realize that UNLV is a step up from the NBA.

  30. If nothing else I think we should at least get a long term "Home and Home" with Oklahoma

  31. Reggie is in an unfortunate position, he's stuck touring around with the Wolves while everyone's bending Livengood's ear in Houston. Too bad he couldn't get down there and at least have a meeting.

  32. Put me in the list wanting Reggie Theus. Not to knock Rice, but he seems like associate coach material to me. I don't think he's going to bring in the talent that Theus could bring in. I mean, if he makes New Mexico State an attractive place, I would imagine he'd do much more in Las Vegas.

    Theus means a return to Gucci Row and the glitz and glamor of the old Vegas teams. Teams with scary talent making deep runs in the tournament.

    Rice would be a good coach, and his teams would be a lot like Lon's. Well over 20 wins, nothing spectacular, and a first-round ouster in the NCAA tournament, with a first-round win here and there.

    That would be great for a school like Cal State Fullerton. But I can't help but watch Butler and VCU and think that should be the Rebels out there.

  33. My vote is for Rice, with LJ or Stacey or both on the beach, and I don't think Theus comes as an assistant. For everyone saying that Rice has no head coaching experience you can look at Tom Thibodeau with the Chicago Bulls. He was the lead assistant forever and took the head job with the Bulls and is thriving. Its not like Rice has not been around basketball and great coaches to learn from. I think he could be the next great young head coach.

  34. Gurgurich was UNLV's head coach at one time. He was a head case though. Couldn't take the pressure of being the Rebels top guy after Tark. He shouldn't even be considered. He probably doesn't want the job anyways. Better as an assistant.

  35. Oklahoma will struggle as Kruger's inability to understand the role of a good big man in college basketball will constantly frustrate their, "best recruiting years ever". Kruger did a great job of bringing the image of integrity back to the program. For that, we are grateful. However, he couldn't recruit a real winning team. That is evident. Unfortunately, he made promises to the community that he has turned his back on.

    With all the struggles our higher education system is having, I only hope they don't rest on their laurels and recruit a morally bankrupt coach with a history of troubles as a quick fix. We need to make sure we have a program with no baggage. A Rhodes Scholar that knows how this city works would be a great choice.

  36. Rice is major step down from Kruger. Rice hasn't proven he can recruit at all. He coaches at BYU where Mormons want to play. If we hire Rice, it will be a slow decline to mediocrity or below. I'm praying to the basketball gods it doesn't happen.

  37. Its Reggie Theus time, I sure hope it happens. Sorry but Rice needs to stay at a school where he can recruit white players from the suburbs.

  38. Get Theus and we are a yearly final four contender. Get Dave Rice and we'll continue to be lucky and make the NCAA tournament. Season ticket sales would soar if they brought Theus in...not to mention high caliber recruits.

  39. Just read Livengood's bio. He went to BYU!!! I smell fish....and a discrimination law suit.

  40. For the love of god I pray they get this right....i really believe this program is primed with the infusion of new energy to take the next step...rarely does a coach get to come to a team in this good of shape...we were a shot blokcer away from a sweet sixteen team this year..........But to make it a little better we need a better TV deal...thats the big deal for recruits...HOW MANY TIMES WILL I BE ON TV?????

  41. So we've gone from condemning Rice because he has no head coaching experience all the way to pulling out the race card if Rice gets hired instead of Theus; implying a descrimination lawsuit? All of the sudden Rice will never be able to recruit black players? That's quite a leap in hypothetical theories. We've never seen Rice as a head coach, but apparently some people just "know" that he is bound to fail and bring us down.
    The same people who think Rice will fail are enamored with Reggie Theus . He has two years of college head coaching experience and while he did a good job, they only made the tournament because they won the conference tournament which was played in their own building. He had a .415 winning percentage with the Kings and was fired 24 games into his second season.
    I would be perfectly happy with Theus or Rice, but I tend to lean a little toward Rice in this case. I'm certainly not going to come in like some others and start making ridiculous claims about the AD, the school or Theus just because I prefer Rice. Every head coach gets his first job sometime. Regardless of who gets hired, I am more optimistic about next season than I have been prior to the last few seasons. I trust Livengood to make the right decision. He did at Arizona when replacing Lute Olsen and I think he has made good hired in Hauck and Chambers here.

  42. Why are so many people afraid to talk about race when it is a factor in so many decisions in peoples lives? Rice coaches at a mormon school which is well over 90% white, heck the whole state of Utah is predominantly white. Like it or not but Theus could go into the hoods of America, where the best ballers live, where hoops is life not just hobby & win recruits, I question Rice's ability to do so. Either way I still think UNLV takes steps forward next year with whoever the new coach is. I prefer Theus simply because he will bring the kind of athletes back to UNLV that need to be here. Plus his credentials are much more inriguing then Rice's.

  43. Just heard from a source on the inside that Reggie is flying into Vegas today and will interview either today or tomorrow. I also heard that he has the staff to keep Glaze in Vegas.



  44. News Flash: Glaze already came out and said he's still excited to be a Rebel even though Kruger left.

    You can discuss race all you want, but to suggest that Rice can't recruit black athletes simply because he is white and coached at BYU is ridiculous. I'd actually go as far as to say coaching at BYU probably hindered his ability to recruit more than anything. They have certain standards at BYU, not to mention the honor code, that Rice won't have to worry about here. Think Theus could go into a young inner-city kid's home, tell him he's going to be a big shot on campus but can't have sex the whole time he is in college, and get them still to come? I don't.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree. I'd be perfectly happy with either. I think what the more interesting factor between the two coaches is going to be what kind of staff they can bring in with them. I'd guess Larry Johnson will probably end up on the staff in some capacity with either.

  45. Who did Dave Rice land when he was an assistant for UNLV all those years? Nobody was complaining when he left for BYU. Kruger didn't even think he was worthy of a spot. I didn't see any local beat writers saying, "we lost a great recruiter in Dave Rice", or "its going to be hard to replace Dave Rice". I was critical of Kruger, but Rice can't hold Lonnies jockstrap.

  46. i would like to clarify why i think reggie theus is the man for the job over dave rice, as i'm not seeing the best arguments being put forward. first, rice fans can minimize it all they like, but theus took over a 6-24 team and two years later they were 25-9 and made the tournament. nmsu's making the tournament on their home floor was no less an accomplishment than the various times UNLV has made the dance on its home floor. i don't care if you're playing in your mother's living room, getting in is never easy, particularly for a team that two years prior was a cellar-dweller. his short tenure in the nba was hardly the abject failure some would portray. he had actually shown some improvement, but we're all aware of the capriciousness of nba owners regarding coaches as scapegoats. i don't recall anyone saying tark wasn't a great coach after his ignominious firing 20 games into his tenure with the spurs. finally, theus didn't get his reputation as a star recruiter by accident. getting a 5 star recruit like herb pope to commit to come to las cruces, new mexico is no small feat. hell, if one gains that rep working for rick pitino, who can gain top players just by showing up, it probably says even more. add to all this his connection to the tarkanian days, his repeatedly stated love of UNLV, and his also oft-repeated desire to be our coach and to get us running the way we used to, i think he would end up putting the rebels right back where we all want them to be.

    i don't have a big problem with dave rice, as i love his ties to tarkanian and his up-tempo offensive style, i just dispute some of the pros people are attributing to him, particularly regarding his recruiting. i'm seeing a lot of weight put on his connection to gorman, but he's had that link ever since his brother took the job, and how many players has he pulled from there, one? is shabazz even giving lip service to byu, like he is UNLV? and it's not like byu and gorman aren't similar institutions in terms of academic standards, so i don't think that's been his problem. i think anybody who thinks that his connection at gorman (or peck's at findlay, for that matter) would guarantee greater success attracting those schools' players is fooling themselves. those kids are going to the highest profile school they can, and if UNLV is that school, wonderful. but it will have little to do with the coach's previous ties to their high/prep school. when players follow, for example, their aau coaches to particular schools, those schools almost always a) are power schools like kansas, unc, etc. or b) have just hired a high-profile coach like bob huggins. while rice has done a nice job under the restrictions of byu, his biggest get was jimmer, a once in a lifetime luck-out under the circumstances. theus, however, has cache (from his reputation with pitino and his brief time at nmsu) with those type of blue chip recruits that rice can only dream about.

  47. #1 - Patticus, you're going to ask about what Dave Rice accomplished as an assistant 10-15 years ago and attempt to make that relevant to what he may be able to accomplish now? Rice worked as an assistant for 11 years under 4 different coaches. His role was constantly shifted around, and he even served as director of basketball operations for a year or two. During the time he was an assistant, UNLV recruited future NBA players such as Marcus Banks, Shawn Marion, Keon Clark, etc... Did he have the primary role in recruiting those players, maybe/maybe not but I'm sure he had some sort of hand in their recruitment. Using your logic, let's take Theus's performance in a coaching capacity that many years ago. Wait... he didn't even start coaching at a collegiate level until 2005. I guess since he was do nothing 15 years ago, we should take that as an indicator of what he might bring to the table? Hopefully my sarcasm is noted as an indicator of how flawed the logic you are trying to use actually is.

    #2 adrock, those are all very valid arguments for Reggie Theus. My issue was more with some of the idiots above who are implying that if Theus isn't hired, it is because he is black. I would be perfectly happy with Reggie Theus as the head coach and acknowledge that he probably has an edge when it comes to recruiting over Dave Rice. My argument is still that recruiting at BYU would actually be a hinderance to his ability to recruit big-time athletes. While I guess Gorman and BYU could be compared because they are both religious institutions, Gorman is the best choice available for a good education and exposure for athletics in the city. Its also a high school attended by kids at the direction of their parents. Kids have more of a choice when it comes to college and I still don't think non-LDS athletes look at BYU, with their strict honor code, as a place to jump at for the college experience many young elite athletes are looking for. And I still do think the connection with his brother at Gorman could help with recruiting there. It won't seal the deal by any means if a kid has no interest in UNLV, but for those that do, it couldn't hurt.

    I still lean a bit toward Rice, but would be happy with Theus as well. I would even be happy Dunlap. I like his resume a lot, but it will most likely come down to Theus or Rice.

  48. While I will certainly support Dave Rice or Mike Dunlap, to me I couldn't agree more with Tark in that this will be a joke if Reggie isn't hired. From the quick turnaround he guided at NMSU; the work he did at Louisville, particularly as a recruiter (Lorenzo Wade, Terrence Jennings, Bryan Harvey, Andre McGee, Amir Johnson and securing the transfer of David Padgett among others), to his charisma it is a pretty obvious choice to me. I really believe if Reggie can put together a quality staff he could do the same thing for us as what Lavin has done at St.John's which is really rejuvenate the fan base, and more importantly, improve the results on the court and in recruiting.

    In regards to those who I am pretty confidant Dave actually had a hand in recruiting your looking at Marcus Banks, Lou Kelly, Jerel Blassingame, Romel Beck and Donovan Stewart. Compare that to the players Reggie brought in at Louisville along Herb Pope and Jahmar Young at NMSU and to me Reggie wins the comparison on that front.

    Furthermore, I agree with those who feel it is awfully naive to think that just because Dave's brother coaches Gorman all of a sudden a player of Shabazz's caliber will bypass Coach K, Roy Williams and Kansas for a virtual unknown. I am not even sure Reggie could land a player of Shabazz's caliber that quickly.

    This is another critical point I hope Livengood is considering. Someone earlier mentioned Tim Grugrich's hire in October 1994. At that time depending on who you spoke with the university was somewhere in the neighborhood of $750,000 to $1,000,000 in the hole (largely thanks to the firing of Jerry). Within a week of Tim's hire revenue generated by the basketball program improved by around $500,000. For a university whose finances are in such peril no realistic candidate so far in the running could generate revenue as much as Reggie could. There are a good number of people in the community who are ready to reopen their wallets if the right candidate is hired.

  49. We all have strong opinions regarding this issue and for me it boils down to who can push UNLV Basketball to the next level. Can Dave Rice come in here, bring some good players to the city and win 20-25 games a season? I believe that he could and would. I enjoy his offensive schemes and how he seems to get everything out of his players that is possible. But, if I were a betting man and had to bet who would bring more success to the program, my money would be on Reggie. I know and have seen his ability to coach and his much greater ability to recruit. Unfortunately race does play into this decision and Reggie would be much more sucessful going into the homes of young men that look like him, lived like him and understand the possible challenges that face young african american males much better than Dave Rice. Men like Stacey Augmon and LJ, I believe, would gladly come and assist Reggie in rebuilding the old Runnin' style of the Rebels. I honestly am not sure either of them would come and play second fiddle to a reserve on their championship team no matter how good their relationship might be. Stacey and Larry played many years in the league. Reggie played and coached in the league. Stacey is coaching the league right now. Rice didnt get a sniff. I'm not saying that making it to the league automatically makes one a great coach BUT kids in todays world want to know what it takes to make it there and they look at one or two factors; has this coach sent players to the league recently and/or did this coach play in the league. A yes to either of those questions gives that coach a leg up on those recruits who truly have the talent and aspirations to go to the next level. Reggie is that man and I hope that livengood looks beyond the byu ties and does the right thing and brings Reggie back home to UNLV. I can almost guarantee if he does, more season tickets will be sold almost immediately and we, yes I said we, will start Runnin' again! UNLV GO FIGHT WIN

  50. Why did Theus get fired from NM State? I've never heard why.
    I'm leaning towards Rice because he's young, probably the best option financially, and he's been in winning programs throughout his career. Look at Brad Stevens. He's young, white, and nerdy. Back 2 Back National Championship appearances at Butler. Rice can do it.
    I would also like Theus, but I just think his price tag is going to be way too big for UNLV.
    Either way I hope it is Rice or Theus. I'm excited for the days to come.

  51. @ 1rebelfan,

    can you imagine three rebels with their jerseys hanging from the rafters on the the rebel bench? like i said, while i'm okay with dave rice, it is killing me that reggie might not be the choice, so sure am i that he's the one to bring us back. at the very least, i'm so glad we're going back to our roots, no more mercenaries on our bench. i've always wanted us to be like carolina that way, where we hire within the rebel family. then our lack of money doesn't matter as much and we build an even greater tradition.

    i agree that rice didn't have the freedom to recruit at byu that he would at other schools, i just don't have the confidence in him that i do in reggie. that may be somewhat baseless, but i just think from what i know of the two that reggie is going to get better access to the top players than rice will. the image that reggie has IS that of the old rebels, and that was very attractive to young black kids and likely still will be. rice is probably a very good x and o guy and a capable recruiter, but i don't think he brings the intangibles that reggie does.

  52. @ adrock
    Like I said, that would be awesome and I believe the tradition of winning would return, the UNLV Runnin' Rebel would return and the energy in the city for college basketball would return. Reggie can do it and Jim needs to hire him, no question about it! And as for what you said to lange regarding the intangibles, you hit the nail on the head. Reggie has them, Dave doesn't.

    Theus was not fired, he left to coach the Sacramento Kings. You know, the NBA team...

  53. Rice would be better than Kruger but Theus shines in comparison to both of them. If he really is flying into Vegas today I think Reggie & Livengood seal the deal. I believe Jim is smart enough to discern why Reggie is the best choice for UNLV. Its Reggie time!!! C'mon Jim make it happen so we can put the Runnin back in the Rebels & some excitement back in UNLV hoops.

  54. Adrock:

    You hit the nail on the head. Theus is the man for the job. I, too, like Rice, but there is no doubt that Reggie would be able to recruit better.
    Reggie epitomizes Runnin'Rebel basketball- the guy is a good looking, classy, intelligient dude.

  55. if we are going to bring race into this at least look at who BYU has coming in next year.

    If Rice can recruit a black kid who is a 4 star player to BYU after the Brandon Davies saga then you have to give him some credit.

  56. @1rebelfan couldn't have said it better myself, good post.

  57. I am all for Theus. He would be the first diversity hire for Mens Hoops and we would be getting a guy who looks at this job as his dream job not as a stepping stone.

    For someone working day and night, why are we not hearing about other national candidates? Pearl would be great, but the NCAA could suspend him which makes it impossible.

    If UCONN wins tonite, there is talk that Calhoun could retire, which means that more movement could happen.

  58. Mike Lange: I never even mentioned Theus, but since you question my logic, can you actually say Rice will be better than Kruger, which was my point? Kruger came in with a great resume going to the Final Four. He recruited Steve Henson, Mitch Richmond, Frank Williams and a host of other top recruits at Illinois. Dave Rice has no charisma and no head coaching experience. He should be at the bottom of the list of candidates.

  59. Well the good thing is it exposed Kruger as a guy who doesn't really care about winning a national championship. He sure fooled me. Very few coaches can win a championship in less than ten years at one program. Also does he really think that OU can compete with Kansas and Texas for national recruits. I'd say yes but not at his ability and from the same conference. An no I don't think that OU can really draw names to their school better than Unlv. For schools like ours and OU it depends on the coach.

  60. Unless a really strong name emerges, I also have to go with Reggie Theus. The man would never betray Rebel hoops; his professional credentials are solid, and the old school UNLV fan base would be on board from day one. Let's finally give the man, and this program, its due. This Tuesday, let's vote for Reggie Theus!

  61. patticus: It's widely acknowledged that Rice and Theus are pretty much the two horses in the race. If you're tearing one down, it stands to reason you're building up the other. I honestly think Rice will be better than Kruger at this point. I think Kruger did a great job, but he focused so much on defense that he couldn't/wouldn't adjust the offense when it was obvious that the strategy of jacking up a bunch of threes was not working. I think part of the issue was his staff, because they all learned under him (with the exception of Hill), so there wasn't anyone to offer a contrasting voice or opinion as to how the offense was being run.

    Besides that, it is not a question of whether Dave Rice will be better than Kruger. This isn't a Kruger vs. Rice scenario; it is Rice vs. Theus at this point. I still think whether it is Theus or Rice, the Rebels will be running quite a bit more, which is what we all want. I just happen to favor Rice while other people favor Theus. Its no big deal, but if you want to use a guy's performance 15 years ago as an indicator of what he's able to do now, yes, I will question your logic. I'm just not certain how one can be so sure he will fail as a head coach when he hasn't has the opportunity. Most head coaches start off as assistants somewhere.

    It seems Kruger has one GREAT year where he is, and then sort of plateaus. He took K-State to an Elite 8, Florida to a Final Four and UNLV to a Sweet 16. He's never taken a team out of the 1st weekend other than those 3 years. He's a good coach, and when everything falls right, his team can go far, but he doesn't sustain that high level success. You can point out all of the great recruits he got at Illinois, but he never took them past the 2nd Round. I'm not attempting to discount what Kruger has done here because he came in to a bad situation and took us back to respectability. I just don't know if he was going to be the one to take us to the next level, which he obviously won't be now.

    With either Theus or Rice, I think a lot of emphasis must be on who is going to fill out their staff. I've heard Rice has at least one very good west-coast recruiter lined up, while with Theus, you have a good shot at getting LJ and possibly Augmon.

  62. Rice has no resume. He hasn't accomplished anything. He's an assistant coach who hasn't proven he can recruit anybody except Mormons to BYU. Nobody wants him. He should be at the end of the bench like he was when he was a player at UNLV.

  63. The Deseret News is reporting that former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan would entertain the right coaching job if it came along. Who knows? He's a hall of fame coach and Livengood should at least give him a call.

    But I agree that Livengood usually hires the same folks he's hired at other institutions. Like the women's volleyball coach he hired earlier this year who had several of her players quit during her last collegiate coaching job. She had been relegated to coaching volleyball at a rec center when Livengood threw her a lifeline to return to a college coaching position. Why? Because Livengood had hired her years (if not decades) earlier while he was the AD at another school.

  64. Word is Rice will be announced as the head coach in the next few days. Word, as of yesterday, was that Theus was not even contacted. There's your answer about Theus right there. I honestly believe they made the right choice. Tons of head coaches from other programs have taken over the Rebs program and done crap. I think we found a young stud. I like the guys on here that say he can only recruit white Mormon kids. Well, he was at Byu correct? But he also brought in Lloyd, Davies, and the other black kid they had starting this year-can't remember his name. He also brought in the Jimmer. Nuff said. Let Theus stay with the Timberwolves as a lowly assistant.

  65. YEah......hire Reggie because its a DIVERSITY hire.......puke. How about hire a long term coach that will get us back on TV..and comes with the cant recruit anyone if you play on the MOUNTAIN channel......recruits first question is about your NCAA tourney success....second question is how many TV games.

    PERIOD. Reggie has a better chance to get along with BOOSTERSand get the town fired up and get us on TV.

  66. I think both Rice and Theus can do a fine job as head coach. But, Theus will bring a level of excitement that Rice can't match. This city yearns for the days of Theus , Larry Johnson, and stacy Augmon. Today's kids look up to these guys as heroes. You can't measure the impact on recruiting that these former Rebels would have. Hiring Dave Rice will keep us right where we are now. Mediocre.

  67. Assuming Rice OR Theus is hired, what are the opinions/options people think they will bring to be assistants and such?

    I have to admit, seeing LJ or Augmon as assistants alongside Theus OR Rice (or some other combination of those names in head coach or assistant positions) would be enough to draw a crowd to the Thomas and Mack regardless of how well we play... And from a recruiting standpoint, having 2 or 3 of those names on the bench should get ANY kid excited who knows anything about them.

    Is this even possible? Would LJ play second fiddle for Theus? Rice? Would Augmon come be an assitant for either? How about 3 out of 4? I've read they are all 'pretty close' but who knows what that means.

    I think I'm dreaming pretty heavily here, but if these guys got together as a team, UNLV would be unstoppable!

  68. "Today's kids look up to these guys as heroes."

    Let's not get carried away here.

  69. Sports Illustrated says Bob Knight is throwing his hat in the ring. Despite his on-court antics and well known vitriol, the man's resume can't be ignored. However, Knight would've been a no brainer as Tark's replacement 20 years ago. Now, not so much.

    Any talk of Bruce Pearl is pure lunacy. If Lon Kruger did anything for this program, it was to take the heat of scrutiny off our back. We hire Pearl, and the NCAA immediately reinstates its Rebel-Gate doctrine and ensuing 24 hour surveillance.

    I'm sticking by Reggie Theus. I think he gives us the "it" factor some of the other names being bandied about (i.e. David Rice) just don't bring to UNLV. I like Rice, but I feel like hiring him at this point in his career is a step backward for UNLV. AD Livengood needs to earn his paycheck here: surprise us with a quality head coach, or if you're going to roll the dice (no Vegas puns intended), do so with Theus.

  70. "Word, as of yesterday, was that Theus was not even contacted."


  71. If Theus could get Herb Pope (ESPN #32 in '07) to Las Cruces from Pennsylvania in only his second year there, just imagine what he could do here.

  72. I couldn't say it any better than this article in the RJ. Dave Rice is our man.

  73. If Theus was ever contacted, it was as of today. In two RJ articles Theus himself said he hasn't heard from anybody.

  74. @neil18,
    i'm sorry you feel that you couldn't say it any better, as that article makes a very weak case. basically everything he gives rice credit for is something that theus also can claim. rice runs an up-tempo offense? so does theus, he's stated many times before that if he were the unlv coach he'd have us running like the old days. rice is a skilled recruiter? theus proved his nation-wide recruiting bona fides at new mexico st. and at louisville. in fact, the recruits he's pulled are clearly better than those of rice, who basically got jimmer and a bunch of guys who could hold their own in the mountain west. yawn. but beyond all that, theus turned nmsu around in two years. two. from last place to first. doing that takes more than just getting the blue chippers and rolling them the ball so they can do their thing. what he was able to get out of that team in that short amount of time is nothing short of remarkable. maybe rice can do that too, but the difference is, we KNOW theus can.

    dave rice may be YOUR man, but i hope he's not ours. not this time.

  75. honestly, at this point i'm starting to think that the a.d. and school president are looking more for someone docile that they can control. maybe theus is too aggressive for their taste. he might present the same problem for certain people in this town as tark did, i.e. a personality that is larger than life. as we know, a mr. and mrs. wynn didn't like being second fiddle local celebs to anyone else, hence their ego-driven sandbagging of tark. maybe some see theus as getting too much of their spotlight, something that would never be an issue with the milquetoast mr. rice pudding. i'm probably full of it, but the rumors that it's rice's job to lose, without reggie even getting a fair shake, are starting to piss me off.

  76. I can't imagine that would be something they would take too much into account when it comes to Theus. The indication right now is that it is Dave Rice's job to lose, but Reggie will get his fair shake. He is coming in to meet with Livengood and everyone else involved on Wednesday. I still support Livengood and think he will make the best decision regardless of who he chooses. He had to replace Lute Olsen at Arizona; thats a much bigger task than replacing Lon Kruger at UNLV. Livengood hit a home run with that one. I'm still holding a slight lean toward Rice as my preference, but am still going to be thrilled if Reggie Theus gets the job.

  77. Theus did leave his college job with baggage. His recruiting of Pope was still being looked into after he bagged the progam and left for the pros. I think the only difference is some guys want a bigger name that they THINK can recruit. Most of us are betting that Rice can out coach Theus. Maybe Theus can recruit better-not sure about this-because he's black and played in the pros? Well, Rice will take care of that so called problem by getting LJ as an asst. The asst's recruit anyway. I'd much rather be recruited by LJ than Theus. Most kids have no idea who Theus is. In fact, the only reason I remember Theus is because MJ hated playing with him on the Bulls. He only cared about one end of the court. If Rice doesn't get it, I'd like to see Bobby Knight get it. Who I would really like is Mark Few. The MW has got to be a step up from the WCC. We'll see. If Theus gets it I won't be disappointed but it's not the best hire. Just my 2 cents.