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UNLV turns to New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies to lead basketball program

In March, Menzies pulled out of consideration for job; today, he’s on the Rebels’ coach

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Young Kwak / AP

Then-New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies directs his team in December 2013 against Gonzaga.

Updated Saturday, April 16, 2016 | 11:46 a.m.

Marvin Menzies withdrew his name from consideration for the UNLV basketball head coach job in late March when it became clear officials were targeting another coach.

But Chris Beard — that other coach — lasted just seven days on the job before the coaching carousel brought him Friday to Texas Tech.

Menzies, the nine-year New Mexico State coach, was still a phone call away. And he was willing to take the call.

UNLV acted quickly in filling its unexpected vacancy, agreeing in principle with Menzies to become the Rebels' next head coach, the school announced today. The contract still has to be submitted to the Nevada Board of Regents for approval.

The 54-year-old Menzies is no stranger to the UNLV program; he served as an assistant on Lon Kruger’s Rebels staff in 2004-05. He was a Louisville assistant from 2005-07 before landing the New Mexico State job — his first as a head coach.

"Marvin is an experienced head coach with UNLV and west coast roots who knows what it takes to build and maintain a winning college basketball program," UNLV President Len Jessup said in a statement. "He is a dynamic recruiter and proven leader who understands the proud tradition of UNLV basketball, and we look forward to welcoming him back to campus."

Menziez posted a 198-111 record at New Mexico State with five berths in the NCAA Tournament in nine seasons. His teams were 0-5 in NCAA Tournament games.

In Western Athletic Conference play the past two seasons, New Mexico State is 26-2 with a pair of league titles. It won the league tournament five times, including four straight seasons from 2012-15. He has coached two All-Americans at New Mexico State and two league players of the year.

"We are looking forward to bringing Marvin Menzies back to UNLV as our men’s basketball head coach,” UNLV Athletics Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. “He has connections to our university and our community, and respects the tradition of Runnin’ Rebel basketball.

Menzies’ contract at New Mexico State runs through the 2018-19 season with an annual base salary of $288,971, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. It could reach $400,000 with incentives.

In March he told the Sun-News, “I felt it was good to go through the (interviewing) process with a school like UNLV that has such a strong national brand. However, I felt it was best to remove my name from consideration at this time. After discussing it with my wife and my family, I felt it was best to remove my name at this time.”

Menzies won't officially be the UNLV coach until his contract is approved by the Nevada Board of Regents. It took nearly two weeks for the regents to meet after Beard and UNLV agreed in principle on a contract. That luxury won’t exist this time.

UNLV has just three remaining players in the program from last season, and Menzies will be severely behind in recruiting. The spring signing period started Wednesday.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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