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Former Rebels player Dave Rice lands his dream job

Ex-UNLV assistant gets first head coaching gig, will be introduced today


Las Vegas Sun file

From left, UNLV coach Jay Spoonhour and assistant coach Dave Rice react during a game against San Diego State at the Thomas & Mack Center Tuesday, February 17, 2004.

Updated Monday, April 11, 2011 | 2:15 a.m.

Dave Rice

UNLV assistant coach Dave Rice yells to Rebel players as they take on Georgetown at the Thomas & Mack Center Sunday, November 28, 1999. The Rebels defeated the Hoyas 85-69. Launch slideshow »

Dave Rice had waited almost two decades for the phone call that came late Sunday morning.

UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood placed it, offering Rice the opportunity to become the 15th head men's basketball coach in Rebels history. It took Rice, who spent the last six seasons on the staff at BYU, almost no time to accept, and an hour later, he, his wife and their two sons were packed and in the car for a five-hour drive to Las Vegas.

Following a week that must have felt almost as long as the eight years since he last sat on the UNLV bench, what comes next for Rice will truly be a blur. He'll be on campus Monday for a 4 p.m. introductory press conference at the Thomas & Mack Center Board Room followed by a 5 p.m. fan reception next door at the Cox Pavilion.

Rice, who played for Jerry Tarkanian on UNLV's back-to-back Final Four teams in the early 1990s before an 11-year run as a Rebels assistant, spent next to no time getting to work.

On Sunday night, the Sun confirmed through multiple sources that San Diego State assistant Justin Hutson will officially become the first member of Rice's staff. Hutson spent the last five seasons heading up SDSU's recruiting efforts and coordinating the Aztecs' defense — both areas which contributed heavily to SDSU's storybook 2010-11 season that ended with a Sweet Sixteen berth.

Rumors are already flying regarding the other three spots on the staff — two assistant spots and a Director of Basketball Operations post — including some involving UNLV great, current Denver Nuggets assistant and former Rice teammate Stacey Augmon. More light should be shed on that situation in the next 48 hours.

Rice's other order of business upon arrival was meeting with the returning UNLV players Sunday night at the Mack. All but three players who were either unavailable or out of town showed, and the vibe was a good one.

"I woke up to the news, and it was good to finally find out who the coach will be, especially somebody who was part of the program before," said junior-to-be guard Anthony Marshall. "(The last week) was an emotional roller-coaster. When you lose the coach who brought you into the program, it's like losing a family member. Now, having a coach, I guess we just have a sigh of relief, you could say.

"You just can't help but be excited."

The team then held a scheduled open gym session at the Cox Pavilion, and Marshall said that what was displayed during that run was the excitement over the style of play Rice will bring to UNLV.

Rice spent the last three seasons as BYU's associate head coach, running the Cougars' uptempo offense that year-in and year-out has made them not just one of the most entertaining and explosive scoring teams in the Mountain West Conference, but in the nation.

The potential for similar results appears to be great, given UNLV's long and athletic roster that is already a stout defensive group. It includes several guards who can score from all over, versatile forwards and some big men who can run the floor exceptionally well.

"One of the things he said was just think about style of play from here on out — there was a lot of energy from that," Marshall said. "(BYU) really played in transition a lot. Even after a made basket, they'd hurry it up and get in bounds and up the court. I feel we can do that, we have the athletes to do that. That's all I've really been thinking about the last few days, before we knew who the coach would be. I've been telling the guys about the things we can do."

Though Rice wasn't named UNLV's next coach until nine days after Lon Kruger's unexpected departure to Oklahoma, there was a strong sense ever since that April 1 announcement that Rice would have the inside track.

The process conducted by Livengood and the rest of the UNLV brass was as thorough as possible, and despite some unlikely fringe candidates popping out of the woodwork and trying to get into the conversation — Bob Knight, Larry Brown and Larry Johnson — the field was chipped down to four finalists. Rice's top competition in that group in terms of local support was UNLV legend and Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Reggie Theus. The other two candidates to come out to Las Vegas late last week for interviews were St. John's assistant coach Mike Dunlap and former Oregon and Saint Mary's head coach Ernie Kent.

While Rice seemed to have the larger volume of support from the fans, alumni and boosters, those backing Theus as their top choice were much more vocal, led by both Jerry and Danny Tarkanian.

However, the campaigning wasn't enough.

"I'm obviously disappointed in the decision, but I'm really happy for David," Theus said Sunday evening. "I'm very fond of my university, and I'm sure I will always be a part of the Rebel family. It was a great opportunity. I'm very happy that I had a real chance to get the job. If that's the direction the administration felt they wanted to go in, then good luck. I just wish them a lot of luck.

"One thing in the process that was overwhelmingly pleasing was I did not expect the incredible fan support I got."

Theus tried to land the gig in 2004, when Kruger was hired. He was told to go get head coaching experience, which he did at both New Mexico State and then with the Sacramento Kings. He said he believes that on his current path, he'll be a head coach at either the collegiate or pro level again.

As for Rice, details of his contract will likely be hammered out Monday, and getting the Board of Regents' approval will be no sweat.

"I think his record (at BYU) speaks for itself — all of his players graduated, and BYU is a run-and-gun team, with him running the offense," Regent Mark Alden said of his approval of the Rice hire. "There are other big reasons: UNLV grad, former UNLV player, former UNLV coach, Rhodes Scholar (candidate).

"Dave Rice has a tough act to follow, but I think he's ready to do it."

Then, of course, comes the meat and potatoes of this opportunity.

Rice inherits a team that loses only two rotation players from a group that went 24-9 this past season and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. Between Marshall, Chace Stanback and Oscar Bellfield, there's a strong veteran core of a team that appears primed for a jump. There will also be the intriguing new pieces, highlighted by versatile UCLA transfer Mike Moser.

If winning is the meat, then the potatoes are, without question, recruiting. To be specific, it's the 2012 class, which includes several high-level senior prospects in UNLV's backyard. Four of them — Shabazz Muhammad, Rosco Allen, Ben Carter and Demetris Morant — play for Rice's brother, Grant, at Bishop Gorman.

UNLV will have at least four scholarships to fill at the end of the 2011-12 campaign, and pressure will be high to keep some of that talent within the city.

"It's totally unexpected that this happened at this time," Grant said. "Obviously, coach Kruger did a great job with the program in the last seven years. We fully expected coach Kruger to be here several years longer and possibly retire at UNLV. When this whole thing went down on April Fool's Day, no one believed it at first. (Dave) is very excited."

Both Dave Rice and Jim Livengood will make themselves available for comments at the scheduled press conference. For full coverage of Monday's big day on campus, visit lasvegassun.com/rebels.

More recruiting notes

• One major recruit from the Kruger Era who will take a little work to retain will be Findlay Prep sophomore point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who committed to UNLV back in December.

Williams-Goss heard the news on Sunday while in Los Angeles to train with his AAU team, but said he wasn't surprised, saying he'd felt as if UNLV was leaning in Rice's direction over the last few days.

He and his family will now sit down and decide whether to maintain the commitment or re-open the recruitment. They expressed some disappointment in Kruger leaving, citing that the relationship they'd built with him was the primary reason for the unusually early verbal pledge.

"I've heard that he's a great guy, (Findlay coach Mike) Peck knew him and he had good things to say about him. I haven't heard any negatives about him and he's a great offensive coach," Williams-Goss said. "If he chooses to approach me, I'm open-minded to hearing what he has to say, willing to start a new relationship with coach Rice and whoever he brings in on the coaching staff."

• USC transfer Bryce Jones, who took an official visit to UNLV not long before Kruger and his staff left for Norman, Okla., appears to still be in play.

He was UNLV's top target to fill its last remaining open scholarship for next season. Jones, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, took an official visit to San Diego State this past weekend, and Hutson now coming to Las Vegas could be a major chip for the Rebels to recruit with. He's still set to take his third planned visit to Gonzaga in two weeks.

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  1. I was pulling for Reggie Theus, but then I heard whispers of Larry Brown which scared the (expletive) out of me. I have confidence in Rice though. And really, just the scare of Larry Brown really eases me past my disappointment of Rice not getting the gig.

  2. My question is will Rice be considered THE WRONG HIRE if Shabazz from Gorman doesn't come to UNLV?

  3. Congrats to Dave Rice. I supported Reggie, but feel we need to regroup and back UNLV. I am an alum and season ticket holder for 30 years. Hopefully Dave can get Larry and Grg to help build UNLV back to the prominence we once had. Dave should also reduce any backlash from the NCAA.

    Let's stop the lobbying and unite behind Rice.

  4. He brings with him Stacey Augmon and Justin huston from SDSU. Justin is considered one of the top recruiters on the west coast and has been instrumental in SDSU's recent success. This could end up being far greater than you have imagined. Augmon on the drills working the D. dave on the locals, Justin on the west coast. Bring it on DAVE!

  5. So awesome, congratulations Dave!!

    No, Canes, he won't. Your boy Mike Peck wasn't right for the job, get over it. Shabazz brings Roy Williams and Coach K to town. Don't try to set up a letdown.

  6. Dave rice without a doubt the correct choice. This was not racial (unless people make it so). He's a Rhodes scholar, he has been around the game his whole life he has excellent communication and teaching skills. His brother ( coach at BG) is connected. He will be able to recruit both here and in Utah and California. 100% perfect!!!

  7. A Rhodes scholar with a high basketball IQ and strong work ethic. I just hope he can recruit.

  8. Making Shabbaz a pass or fail grade for Rice is not the right thing to do. those talents will still go to the top 10 programs of the country.

    Getting one to stick around every now and then would be nice.

  9. So I like rice even though theus was the man. I will support him and I know he is gonna be good too. How do you know augmon is coming with him or is that a wish list. I think we will be better than we ever were. I just hope that to rice this is a 20 year job if he is good.

  10. I was rooting for Theus to get the job, but overall I'm happy with this choice. I'm also glad it's over so we can go back to basketball. Next season will be very interesting and I want to see what Rice can bring to the table. Hopefully he can keep UNLV to its winning ways and bring some good recruit in. BRING BACK THE RUNNIN' PLEASE!!!!!

  11. I support Dave Rice 100%, all at the same time dissppointed that Reggie was named head coach. We all knew the fix was in. Shabbaz and others I can assume are coming as well? Best of luck.

  12. "and takes over a program on the verge of big success"

    Hmmmm, how many times have I heard this in the past few years??

  13. The only thing I want to see Rice bring from byu is the attitude that you actually protect your home court and don't drop easy games, ever. That is something Kruger just couldn't do.

  14. Are we sure about Augmon and Huston coming as well?

  15. Livengood is going to have an under current of fans who will be going after him if this does not work, feeling that Theus brought more experience to the table.

    If he can bring Augmon, that would certainly help on the PR front and ability to recruit inner city kids. It will be interesting where all of these Gorman kids end up now.

    All of us want UNLV to be a successful program that is more than a just making it is good enough basketball program. Good luck to Rice.

    I hope that Livengood is asked about why Rice with no experience as a Head Coach over Theus who has Head Coaching experience? What were the items that Livengood wanted to convince Lon to change? How does Rice fit with the changes he was hoping that Lon was going to make?

    Hope we get some hard questions asked of Livengood, some solid answers that everyone can understand as well. That will help those in the Theus camp better understand why taking a rookie Head Coach was better than taking one with experience?

  16. Been: Although I am not disappointed in DR being named, but saying he can recruit in Utah is not sweetening the deal any. Utah is not a hotbed for recruits. I hope none of his recruits come from Utah.

  17. If he turns this into byu south he will lose a lot of the fan base. I dont want to see a team filled with Jacskson Emery's & Lee Cummard's. I want the days back when Rebels used to intimidate opposing teams waiting for them to get off their bus at the T&M, stare them down,get in their head talking junk, & then run them out of town. Rice will not bring that swagger & edge that made UNLV feared, I hope so but I doubt it. I want hood ballers not dudes that can win spelling bee's. We'll see what he does.

  18. Ouch....really he just came from the sweet 16 with player of the year and is 159-45.....ouch for whoever plays UNLV next year! Rebels! Welcome home Dave!

  19. I just hope he can get the UNLV team to run more than one Man to Man offence.

  20. I can feel the collective disappointment of Las vegas.

  21. Dave Rice was on those teams in the 90s..I think he knows what he takes he turned Utah Mormon farmers into baller imagine what he can do at UNLV......

  22. @jedwards,
    i haven't seen my thoughts worded that well by someone else in a long time. kudos, sir.

  23. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story... according to espn he will model his play tempo like Krugers. And ouch= he didn't do anything but ride the pine.

  24. lol lobo69, it says nothing about playing tempo, it says similar to Kruger in that hes more of a tactician than a motivator.

  25. First of all your an idiot if you think unlv can even be byu south. Second of all I wish we had the current record that byu holds, and third of all if he did bring on more Mormons (which I don't think he will) then his fan base in las Vegas would increase not decrease. Even if he loses a fair-weather fan such as yourselves.

    Ps. There is over 300,000 Mormons in this Mormon founded and ran city. Who do you think all those major boosters are who paid for the mendenhall center. He better not run that garbage tempo that Kruger ran. We are not looking to elevate to the jogging rebels.

  26. It used to be UNLV code to meet the other team when they arrived with a stare down & words before every home game. Rice wont bring that swagger & strutt back. He would probably suspend players if they did that, we need that Rebel image back, that edge that this is our place and you're a bunch of busters who will get treated like punks in a few minutes. That's UNLV basketball at its finest.

  27. Being that he can't bring Jimmer with him, the hiring is very questionable.........

  28. "He is well-respected among his coaching brethren and deemed in a similar light to Kruger -- not flashy and more of a tactician than a motivator."

    I don't see anything in there about tempo. Stop trying to stir up the masses.

  29. tactician and not flashy

  30. And it looks plenty stirred already. According to the poll theus wad more wanted.

  31. Dj, your post doesn't even make sense.

  32. Perfect. Real glad with this hire. All you Theus disciples can move to Minnesota and watch Reggie help Rambis coach the lowly Twolves to a last place finish. Can't wait to hear who Rice will have as assitants. I'm hoping LJ will be one. Yes!

  33. This is a good hire. Theus wouldve been too. The thing Theus supporters & old school Rebel fans never grasped was that the UNLV Admin was NEVER going to commit to ANYBODY who symbolized the past. At least not yet. They loved WHAT they did but dont want anything to do with the image of HOW they did it. Smatresk would lose the whole faculty overnight if it was perceived a "Tark guy" was coming in. Which is why both Tarkanian's coming out publicly for Theus, in my opinion, was the kiss of death for him. Their influence would've been better served & more effective behind closed doors. They dont own the town anymore.

    Personally, I thought Theus was the more high profile & better qualified candidate too. But Dave Rice aint no lightweight either & his resume & work ethic are exemplary. But even more important to me, the one guy who didnt jump ship in the 12 agonizing post Tark yrs, other than us fans, was Dave Rice. He had EVERY reason to leave but didnt. And it wasnt his choice to leave when Kruger came in either. If that isnt a true, die hard Rebel I dont know what is. He had our back for 12 yrs so now I got his. And he is a Tark guy too without the baggage. I fully support Dave Rice. Congrats, Coach!

  34. I'll spell it out. There's no comparison to byu. And las Vegas is a Mormon city just like Utah, hence there is huge Mormon support for unlv but you don't have to call it byu south to try to act like its your team and it's a no Mormons aloud club.

  35. Mormons Rock! Dave Rice we have your back....Run Rebels Run we are back!

  36. Wow, looks like I was the only one stoked when Larry Brown's name was thrown out there. Would've love to have him.

  37. lol at nit lobos chiming in. mad 'cause UNLV showed 'em up in abq. No matter who UNLV hired, you get to look forward to being Kendall Wallaced again next year for UNLV's third consecutive win in the "mighty" armpit.

    DR will do a great job. Welcome home.

  38. rice is not LDS. Not that it should matter. BYU south and all that trash is exactly that, trash. UNLV is gangster.

    and this Larry Brown talk was all fabricated by larry brown. he was never in the running. Just a dude who misses being in the spotlight.

  39. True Rice is a more laid back guy, but he did play under Tark. Don't you think he would instill a lot of the same philosophy. Sure the BYU guys never stared anyone down to my knowledge, but they could not pull it off. I'll tell you this, they never played intimidated, even when they played someone with superior athletic ability.
    Good point about BYU taking care of business. To their credit, they would not only beat inferior teams, but destroy them. I don't we will see many UCSB debacles in the years to come.
    My heart wanted Theus, but I think my brain wanted Rice. Now let's support our new coach and get ready for what could be a pretty exciting year.

  40. I wish David Rice luck and hope to see the glory days of UNLV basketball return.

  41. lobo says: "according to espn he will model his play tempo like Krugers."

    That right there is reading comprehension, ABQ style! Now back to the meth lab with you....

  42. I was also pulling for Theus, but am happy with Rice. I want to keep the steam going, especially with a potentially weak conference season coming up. And htown, UCSB still made the tournament this year too, so it wasn't as bad as we had all thought at first. They made it just as far as we did.

  43. Congrats Dave we're behind you all the way!

  44. All Rice has to say to recruits that BYU is also going after is "We won't suspend you for spending time with your girlfriend."

  45. Dave Rice is a Rebel... A NATIONAL CHAMPION Rebel!!!! He will be a big improvement over money hungry Kruger. Expect LJ, Stacey, Greg & Grg to assist him with the program & take us back to the "Shark Days"!!! The "runnin" will be back in the Rebels! Just as long as J.R. Rider stays away!! NCAA Final Four in 2012... National Champs in 2013!!! REBELS RULE!!! LJ should've taken that 3 against Duke & it would've been 36-0. Back 2 Back '90-91!

  46. To answer a few ridiculous questions/thoughts posed in this thread. First, Dave Rice should not and will not be judged as a bad hire if he does not land Shabazz. I know people who were at the workout last week at Gorman. Rice was there with Coach K, Roy Williams and a dozen other guys from very high level programs. Landing Shabazz will be a tall order, but I think Rice gives us a better shot than Kruger did. The only people condemning Rice if Shabazz doesn't come to UNLV are the trolls who will be waiting for a reason to call him a failure.

    Second, there appears to be some ridiculous notion that because Dave Rice was a bench player and Reggie Theus was a stud player that somehow that implies that Theus would be a better coach than Rice. There is a difference between talent and knowledge. I'm not saying Theus doesn't know his stuff, but if anything, being a bench player (i.e. running on the scout team in practice) might actually provide an advantage as Rice would have been exposed to running multiple defensive and offensive sets. Star player does not equal star coach. Period.

    I know there are a lot of rational people who were backing Theus, but are still perfectly happy with Rice as the hire. I wanted Rice, but I'd have been excited for Theus too. For those of you who can't get over yourselves and feel the need to start bashing Rice, Livengood, UNLV, etc..., please, feel free to jump ship. Here's an idea: How about we wait and see what happens before we call this a bad hire? Let's see who joins the staff. Let's see how he does recruiting. Let's see how he does in his first year or so. If we don't improve or take a step back, then fine, some on here, find my name and tell me, "I told you so." Until then, let's just wait and see. No point in trying judge a coach's tenure when we're not even 12 hours in.

  47. @neil18,
    just in case my immediate previous post gets deleted, which it no doubt will, and you don't get to see it, suffice it to say that it was more succinct and not very polite. i'm not going anywhere. i've been a rebel fan since i was a kid in the late 70s, so i've earned my stripes. i hope rice wins multiple national championships here, i really do. but if his teams are as mediocre as some of us worry they might be, then all your arrogance will have been pretty misguided. because we'll never know how theus would have done, only one of us can be wrong now. i just hope for all our sakes you aren't.

  48. and just how much will this momentous hire cost the long suffering taxpayers?

  49. Hope he brings a winning season like BYU experienced.The mountains of Utah are full of snow and H2O ,hold on to your hats the floods r a coming,next stop Lake mead.

  50. I wanted Theus, but I'm happy with Rice too (especially if Hudson is coming over from SDSU). I think that that both will be an upgrade over Kruger's anemic offense and defense that didn't work against athletic teams (like Illinois). Here's to seeing two bigs play at the same time, J. Hawkin spelling Marshall or Oscar (not playing along side them), and some exciting transition basketball instead of passing the rock around the perimeter.

    As for Wallace, the kid won't be the saving grace for any coach. He can't defend, pass, or run the floor. Plus, he couldn't hit the backboard last year after his 7 3-Pointers at the Pit. He's a nice kid to bring it to break a zone, but that's about it.

  51. Patrick... it will cost us "long suffering taxpayers" less money than continuing to pay Lon Kruger would have. Especially when you consider the buyout Oklahoma had to pay us to hire Kruger. Take your anti-athletic crap somewhere else.

  52. How much will this cost the tax payers? How about surplus. Basketball makes more than it cost to run. Now get off our site.

  53. Oh boy...not a good move. What happened with Larry Brown? Recruiting to play for UNLV should not be a challenge...so you need a smart coach with experience. More misery coming for Rebels fans...

  54. Mike Lange, great post. You hit every nail on the head, in my opinion. For the skeptics out there, can we please, please give Dave Rice a chance first? I would have been happy with either Rice or Theus, but now that it's Rice, can we all just band together as Rebel fans and wish Dave the best? It seems like there are a few of you out there who are almost hoping for Rice to fail so that you can say "See, I told you so!" Reggie Theus is a great guy as well, and maybe he would do better than Dave Rice in theory, but let's see how Rice does in actuality. If he does great, then we'll all be happy and you skeptics out there should come back on here in a year or two and say that you were wrong, just like you won't hesitate to come back on here if Rice isn't as successful as we hope and say "I told you so!" But let's give the guy a chance first!

    For those of you that wanted Larry Brown as coach - Really? Are you serious? Larry Brown was a great coach over the course of his career, but he's 70 years old, changed jobs 9 times, and his career is over. Get a hold of yourselves!

  55. I doubt LJ, Augmon join his staff, if Theus were hired then I would say yes but I find it a major reach for them to take orders from Rice, a guy who they used to punk in practice. That's just how I see it.

    I've got enough smack to run for days, weeks, months, & years so for someone to suggest that I am a fareweather fan & an idiot they just dont know the bizz... This hire also leads me to believe that JL played the race card on Reggie. We have an intelligent, well spoken black man, who is a proven winner as a head coach, a top flite recruiter, and was THE MOST QUALIFIED for this job and he gets snubbed for the white guy from byu who hasn't proven he can do anything???
    Its not just coincidence to many here in Vegas especially when JL is from byu as well. You can take this post however you want to take it & I stand by everything I say. I will always call it as I see it. & I don't care who I offend or bother with candid staight forward real talk. I hope DR succeeds for the Rebels sake but deep down inside I know they just passed up the best available coach for UNLV & yes I do think race was a factor. JL would never be able to puppet around Reggie, Reggie would tell him to take a flying leap but Rice is a different story. This goes back to that "institutional control" statement. JL wants a coach that is a thousand miles removed away from the word rebel, oh wait that's our mascot....

  56. Finally, let's move on with the pre-season. Good luck to Dave Rice, really do hope it is Augmon and Hutson as assistants, LJ one of those spots is yours, all you have to do is ask :)

  57. Great hire by the UNLV Running Rebels!! Dave Rice......the right man at the right time!! The UNLV Running Rebels are certainly "Back In Business"!! Congrats coach Rice, now lets get some top recruits and play hard "D" and press and run and gun like the "Running Rebels" of old!!......lol

  58. What has Theus done to be so "rebellious"? by the way? He had a big afro? He acted in a Saturday morning children's TV show? He's always been polite and respectful in the media? It sounds like you think he'll embody the Rebel spirit just because he's black. Talk about race card. Rice paid his dues and has been coaching for nearly 20 years continuously with the majority being at this school. Don't say he hasn't done anything.
    I just don't get all the disrespect for Rice. Theus would have been a great candidate, but I don't know why the Tarkanians thought that Theus was a "no brainer". True Theus was a great player here, but great players typically aren't great coaches. In fact very few good players who've tried coaching are actually successful at all.
    I'm not saying Reggie wasn't proven, because he was, but the thinking that he is/would be a better coach here because he was a better player is just dumb.
    At the end I was pulling for Reggie, but I always thought this was a no lose situation. Rice knows this team, knows this conference, and should be primed to make noise as early as next year.

  59. Horrible hire for UNLV..... what a dog and pony show for the other three coaches though. I feel bad that they were never really considered. now since one of rices factors as a hire was/is his BG ties.... if he doesnt get shabbaz and the other two he wont last 3 yrs here..... i would love to see this work but until i see who he gets as assts and his first recruiting class i will stick to saying its a BAD HIRE

  60. @djonian81, my sentiments exactly. Rice stayed a Rebel assistant and paid his dues and left only when dismissed by Kruger. Rhodes scholar and possibly bringing Plastic on board to assist?! Mr. Rice, excuse me, COACH Rice, you have the support of this alum. Go Fight Win

  61. Mike and djkgroup.....don't get testy about legitimate questions. ESPN analyzed data from all major U's collected from NCAA and IRS sources. UNLV had the worst [from the taxpayer perspective] record of subsidizing intercollegiate athletics...to the tune of $19,275,082 out of a budget of $56,496,233. When major programs at UNLV and UNR and other campus' are facing closure due to reductions in state support it is quite reasonable to ask how much this guy is gonna cost us.

    Oh.....save your anti-athletic crap, I played several collegiate sports and coached.

  62. Sorry Mikey, you know what I call a troll? Tools like you used the 'if we hire Rice, we'll get Shabazz because his brother is coach at Gorman' line over and over and over and over and over and over and over...and now that he is hired, you're backpedaling like a mofo on those statements.

  63. @Patrick - If you did indeed play college sports and coach, then my bad for calling you out like that. Those of us who post on here regularly get tired of the anti-sports people coming on here calling for all sports to be shut down. The point I was trying to make was that Rice and his assistants will make much less than Kruger and his staff made. That, in addition to the $400K (I think) we got for Oklahoma will add up to UNLV Basketball spending less than we did last year.

    @JahReb - Please, please, please go back and find anything I have written where I have said "If we hire Rice, we'll get Shabazz..." I know some on here have thrown that out there. The most I've said is that hiring Rice can only help in the recruitment of players from Gorman, because, yes, his brother coaches there. I'm by no means claming that Shabazz is now a slam dunk with Rice as coach; I'd still be pretty suprised if he chose to come here, but I think we've got a better shot with Rice than we had with Kruger. FWIW, I think we'd have a better shot with Theus over Kruger too. If you don't think the fact that Rice's brother coaches at Gorman will help us in recruiting there, then I don't know what to say. What I will say is that if you're going to come on here and call me out, make sure you know what the heck you're talking about.

  64. I'm a season ticket holder and will support him even tho' I wanted Reggie mostly because Tark supported him and Tark made UNLV basketball. That being said, if he can bring in players who know how to run and gun and play good 1-1 defense, and who have high basketball IQ's (can't stand bonehead bb) then UNLV will continue to improve and become a perennial top 20 team here on out. Keeping local talent is key, and Dave has the edge there via the BG connection.

  65. Dave Rice was the obvious choice in my opinion and I for one am pleased with his hire. Reggie is awesome and would have been great also. All the haters on both side of this need to knock it off, band together and help take this program back where it belongs...NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. enough said...

  66. ^ +1

  67. According to this article in Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Reggie Theus says he never got a call from anyone at UNLV telling him he didn't get the job and that he had to learn Dave Rice had been hired via the Internet. How totally classless of Neal Smatresk and Jim Livengood! Here is article:

  68. good hire. either candidate would have been great.

    *****best comment so far has been by*****

    Patrick_J_Hayes (pat hayes) at 8:17 p.m

    "Oh.....save your anti-athletic crap, I played several collegiate sports and coached."

    Patricia, don't get your feelings hurt honey. Plus they don't count intramurals at CSN as collegiate sports. you were not a collegiate athlete. please provide link for proof.


  69. I was wanting Theus but I am happy that we have Rice coming in. Im now getting excited with the news for assistants. Hopefully we get Augmon, but Im really happy that we have Justin Hutson. I dont think anyone can worry about recruiting now. We have the guy who got jimmer and the guy who picked up Kawhi Leonard. Hutson also ran SDSU's defense. Here is a good article on Hutson. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/sports/l...

  70. I too preferred Reggie, but I will support Rice 100%. If Stacy comes on board I will feel ALOT better about this hire.
    Good news about either Rice or Theus is that neither would have used this job as a stepping stone. They are both "lifers".

  71. RYAN___________________ Any idea when you will know whos on his STAFF?????????????????????????????????????????????????? Thats the 64,000 $$ question. Better be someone SALTY ( ie Max Good, Tex winters type....and someone young and in touch!!!!))))

  72. For the love of HEY REB....PLEASE get Augmon on board...........Please....

  73. dream job = working at UNLV

    Wow, talk about aiming low.

  74. Rice is a good fit, he knows the league and he seem to have good success with BYU. The Rebels should not lose a beat with Rice.

  75. Well, as I said, the parade of candidate was just a show for those who believed that this was truly a search. Dave had the job as soon as kruger left. Yes, I was a Theus supporter from the begining BUT I am a Rebel fan above all. Do I think that Reggie was the better choice for the here and now? NO DOUBT! But, I agree that Dave is the better choice for the future. I believe that if he can win then he will be here for the rest of his career but I do think he needs to have a leash, just like hauck. If he doesnt produce, he should be shown the door; Rebel or not. If he truly gets those who he is attempting to join him on the bench, UNLV basketball will be in great shape. However, he does need to get an assistant that can coach up the big guys; something that krugers cadre never was able to do effectively. I am looking forward to the new year and what Rice can do with the great core of players we currently have. And, I hope that his connection with BG can get UNLV a couple of those juniors. As for livengood, who cares! I want that guy to retire back to Arizona, where he was going to be fired, and lets hire a Rebel in that position also. Heck, we have an assistant AD who has practically grown up in the program! I believe he truly bleeds scarlet and grey not blue and white like livengood!! REBELS GO FIGHT WIN!!

  76. "Though Rice wasn't named UNLV's next coach until nine days after Lon Kruger's unexpected departure to Oklahoma, there was a strong sense ever since that April 1 announcement that Rice would have the inside track".

    This was a complete farce! Rice was going to get the job from day one. Its obvious that Ryan Green is a tool for Livengood. I have never seen such an obvious case of unfair hiring practices. I hope UNLV is investigated for fraud.

    Feel free to take me off of your trusted comments list. I'll be getting my news from somewhere that at least tries to maintain impartiality.

  77. Very disappointed Reggie not only didn't get the job, but even worse he nor anyone else never really had a chance. Between the process being virtually closed from the time Lon accepted the OU job to a fair amount of folks underhanded tactics, including some involved with the selection process, it was ashame to see what happened to Reggie!

    Be that as it may have to move on. There is no doubt in my mind Dave will work tirelessly to try and be successful (no more golf jokes), we will finally see a conventional line-up on the court and we won't be referred to as the Walkin' Rebels. All positives.

    Looks like he is off to a good start in terms of assistant coaches in Hutson and potentially Stacey Augmon. Hutson has strong connections in California and is also a solid coach. I have always thought for UNLV to be successful we have to be able to keep the local talent home and have a strong presence in southern California. Kruger tried and brought in some good players but was unable to secure top flight talent from CA like Leonard.

    With Stacey's time working under Tim Grgurich and John Welch (and of course George Karl) in Denver as an assistant/player development coach the past couple of years he should be an asset in terms of helping players improve their games, especially on the defensive side. Something myself and others were crticial of the previous staff. Not sure how much initially he can help in terms of recruiting.

    I have always thought any rookie head coach should have an experience former head coach/veteran assistant on the bench with them so I would like to see the same in this situation. Would be unwise in my opinion not to.

    In the end the big question is can he improve on Kruger's results and win big as many of us Theus supporters thought Reggie could? Only time will tell. I think his 2012 recruiting class and subsequent success/lack thereof in the 2012-13 season will be very telling.

    And yes I couldn't agree more with you JahReb. Rice supporters did go on and on about how Dave could clean up locally in 2012. Probably their strongest argument. Definitely wrong on their part to start backpeddling and tempering results now that he has been hired.

  78. I personally desperately wanted Theus for many reasons (which I have posted on this site), but I honestly believe Rice will do a fine job if he hires assistants like Hutson. Hutson will recruit those inner-city kids that Rice can't and Theus could. I don't like the hire, but I will fully support Rice 100%. I hope he takes us to new heights as a program.

  79. not a name coach,,,will not succeed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,you needed pearl,,,u suck and will die

  80. Agreed youngrebelfan. Ill support Rice, his assistants are key, if he can lure some great coaches (recruiters) it will make him look real good. Its time to step his game up!!!

  81. I'll give all of the Theus guys that it really did look like this was Dave Rice's job from the Final Four on. I think if Reggie came in and really blew them away, he would have gotten the job. But, what's done is done and Dave Rice is now the head coach for the UNLV Runnin Rebels! He's already made a big splash as far as assistants go by snagging Hutson from SDSU. Hutson ran their defense, which was very good, and is widely acknowledged as one of the better recruiters on the west coast. It will be interesting to see who else Rice is able to bring in, but Hutson is a huge get.

  82. I'm excited about the hire, I think DR will do a great job. He knows the school, the fans, and the conference. If he brings on a coach to run a D like SDSU had, and couples that with his style of offense from BYU then we will be golden. The next check on the state of the program will be about two years from now - how have we performed with Kruger's players (the cupboard is not exactly bare), and who are Rice's players going to be?

    Turning to the Reggie fans, sure, he's a great guy and one of the greats from UNLV's past. He "may" be a good coach too, but 2 years as the head coach at lowly NMSU (success aside) and getting fired after a year in the NBA with the Kings does not make somebody FAR AND AWAY a better candidate to someone who has been coaching for 20 years at the college level. Both guys have a lot of experience, but I honestly believe that Rice's experience is more relevant here.

    Re: the "race card," I'm very curious why all of you think that just because DR is white he can't recruit someone who is from the inner city (which I guess you all are implying means they're black)? And just because Reggie is black he can recruit someone who is as well? Kids want to play at the school and for the coach that will help them be successful, personality is huge in that... but last time I checked personality was not determined by the color of ones skin. Please give it a break and buy tickets to support our RUNNIN Rebels!

  83. lmao - "success aside." What other reasonable criterion do you want to use to measure coaching ability?

  84. hey bud, he had "success" but it was at NMSU, not like it was a power conference. two years as a head coach at the college level (and one for the terrible Kings) and he's vastly more qualified was what I was trying to get at. from all accounts, Reggie's a great guy, but I am not sold on him being a proven great coach.

    Dave Rice is a good, if not great hire, I'm excited to see where he and his staff will take the program.

  85. You're right about personality betazk41, but think about it this way. People are more apt to listen to those they can relate to. Inner city kids can relate to Theus, and alot of that IS race. I'm not saying its right or wrong, but thats just how it is. Thats not to say white coaches CANT recruit the inner city, but thier race, whether consciously or subconsciously in the mind of the recruit, puts them at a disadvantage. Add in the rather vanilla personailty of Rice and contrast that to a fiery Theus, and you have your answer.