Well, that didn’t take long.
UNLV, which took almost three months to find a replacement for Dave Rice in Arkansas-Little Rock’s Chris Beard, wasted no time finding someone to replace the Texas Tech-bound Beard.
New Mexico State’s Marvin Menzies, a one-time Rebels assistant who was originally passed over for the job for Beard, took advantage of his second (or was it the third, or fourth, or fifth?) chance and agreed to become the school’s head coach on Saturday. A contract will be submitted to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents for review and approval.
That’s where it gets fun. The Board of Regents, aka the State of Nevada Dog and Pony Show, may not approve Menzies’ deal.
Longtime Runnin’ Rebels beat writer Matt Youmans (@mattyoumans247), now the co-host of the popular Las Vegas Sportsline radio show at daily at 2 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1100, reported that some regents were upset the school didn’t give former Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl a better look and that Karl, who has much better head coaching credentials than Menzies, would even have come at a cheaper price ($500,000 per year) thanks to a nice $7 million buyout he landed from the Kings.
Adding even more salt to the wounds to frustrated UNLV basketball fans is that Karl’s staff would have included popular former Runnin’ Rebels star Stacey Augmon, who many pushed for the head coaching job.
George Karl's proposed staff was Augmon, Welch and Karl's son. Due around $7 mil from the Kings, Karl was willing to coach at UNLV for 500k
— Matt Youmans (@mattyoumans247) April 16, 2016
Menzies, 54, has spent the last nine years as the head coach at New Mexico State. Under his direction the Aggies have appeared in the postseason each of the last five seasons and six of the last seven years.
Menzies led NMSU to its fifth straight 20-win season in 2015-16, and seventh in eight years, as it was 23-11 overall and 13-1 in conference play. The Aggies have won 35 straight home conference games, which is the second-longest such streak in the nation.
This past season, NMSU won its second straight outright regular-season Western Athletic Conference Championship, which led to a berth in the NIT after falling in the conference tournament’s title game on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
From 2012-15, Menzies led his team to four straight WAC Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament berths. His team also won the conference tournament crown and appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2010. Menzies also led the Aggies to the outright regular-season conference title in 2014-15 and a co-championship in 2008.
“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. “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.”
Menzies owns a career record of 198-111 (.641) over nine seasons as a Division I head coach and he has gone 103-37 (.736) in conference play. He has coached a pair of AP All-Americans at New Mexico State, two WAC Players of the Year, two WAC Freshmen of the Year, 20 players selected to the all-conference team, five to the all-newcomer team and seven to the all-defensive team.
In 2015-16, New Mexico State ranked 10th the nation in scoring defense (63.1 ppg), 11th in field-goal percentage defense (39.2 percent) and fifth in rebound margin (+9.8 per game). The Aggies lost to Cal State Bakersfield in the WAC Tourney final which denied them a chance to play in the NCAA Tourney.
The 2015 WAC Coach of the Year with a reputation was hired to lead the program in Las Cruces in 2007 after spending two seasons (2005-07) as an assistant coach under Rick Pitino at Louisville. Prior to joining the Cardinals’ staff, Menzies spent one year (2004-05) at UNLV under Lon Kruger.
Before his time at UNLV, Menzies was at USC for a season (2003-04) under Henry Bibby, and he spent four years (1999-03) at San Diego State under Steve Fisher.
The Board of Regents meeting to approve Menzies’ contract is expected to take place on Friday.
— ESPN 1100/100.9 FM (@ESPNLasVegas) April 17, 2016