September 24, 2018 Currently: 83° | Complete forecast

Preston Laird named interim assistant coach for UNLV hoops

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Steve Marcus

Preston Laird, director of UNLV’s Basketball Operations, poses in Mendenhall Center at UNLV Monday, May 22, 2017. Laird recently received the Under Armour NABC 30-Under-30 award which recognizes up-and-coming coaches and support staff in men’s college basketball.

One day after news broke that assistant coach Rob Jeter would be leaving UNLV for a similar position at Minnesota, the Rebels have filled that vacancy on the bench.

For now, anyway.

In a statement released Tuesday, head coach Marvin Menzies thanked Jeter for his time at UNLV and announced that Preston Laird would assume the open assistant position for the time being.

“In the transition, Preston Laird has moved into one of the countable coaching positions and will immediately be able to help recruit and participate in on-court instruction,” Menzies said.

Laird, who has been the program’s director of basketball operations for the past two years, has long been thought to have a bright future in coaching. He was named one of the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ 30-under-30 honorees last year, earning recognition as one of the country’s most promising coaches under 30 years of age.

Prior to being hired at UNLV as part of Menzies’ original staff in 2016, Laird spent four years with Menzies at New Mexico State, first as a graduate assistant and then as the director of basketball operations.

Laird, 27, will mostly likely be a strong candidate to earn the permanent title as an assistant coach, but Menzies may opt to interview outside candidates as part of the process. In the meantime, having Laird to represent UNLV on the recruiting trail should help smooth any transition.

Jeter made $250,000 per year as an assistant at UNLV. Laird makes $70,000 as director of basketball operations and will continue to serve in that position as well; it is unclear whether his salary has been adjusted to reflect his change in roles.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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