Ex-NBA coach Eric Musselman named head coach at Nevada

  • Associated Press
  • Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:41pm
  • SportsSports

RENO, Nev. — Eric Musselman will soon add the college ranks to his long list of head coaching jobs.

The former NBA coach has been hired at Nevada, pending formal approval Thursday by the Board of Regents.

Athletic director Doug Knuth said in a statement Wednesday that he plans to present a proposed five-year contract with Musselman to the state Board of Regents during a meeting Thursday in Las Vegas. Musselman will join the meeting by teleconference from Reno.

The 50-year-old Musselman coached the Golden State Warriors from 2002-04 and the Sacramento Kings in 2006-07. He spent this past season as an assistant at LSU.

He has hoped for years to land a head coaching job at the college level, which will be a fresh start from his disappointing NBA stint. Musselman interviewed for the California job last year before the program hired Cuonzo Martin to replace Mike Montgomery.

Now, Musselman is in line to replace David Carter, who was fired earlier this month after his third straight losing season. Nevada spokesman Chad Hartley said a news conference was planned on the Reno campus Thursday afternoon following the regents meeting.

Musselman was driving Wednesday from the Bay Area, where his two sons live, to Reno.

Several past and present college and NBA coaches praised the move in statements released by the school Wednesday.

“The university of Nevada has made an incredible hire,” Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He is a great leader, communicator and teacher.”

Jeff Van Gundy, a former NBA coach and current analyst for ESPN, said Musselman is “as competitive of a guy as I’ve ever coached against.

“He’s hungry. He’s a brilliant offensive mind and he’s going to be a terrific recruiter,” he said. “This is a guy who can tell kids exactly what it takes to play in the NBA.”

Musselman went 108-138 as an NBA coach and owns a 566-340 overall record at all levels.

The Kings fired Musselman in April 2007 after a 33-49 season. He was arrested on a drunken-driving charge after Sacramento’s first preseason game in October 2006. He immediately issued a public apology, later pleaded no contest to the charge and served a two-game suspension.

Musselman also led the Warriors to two surprisingly successful seasons from 2002-04 as one of the game’s most impressive young coaching minds. Golden State fired him after the franchise missed the playoffs for the 10th straight year in his second season at the helm.

After being dismissed by the Warriors, Musselman spent two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant under Mike Fratello.

His first NBA coaching experience came with the Timberwolves under his late father, Bill, in 1990-91. Musselman also worked as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks under Lon Kruger and as an assistant for the Orlando Magic under Chuck Daly and Doc Rivers.

He was also an assistant at Arizona State and was head coach of the Reno Bighorns in the NBA’s D-League during the 2010-11 season.

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