After three seasons at UNLV, head coach Marvin Menzies was fired on Friday. Menzies was 48-48 during his tenure with no postseason appearances, winning 20 and 17 games in his last two seasons, respectively, after going just 11-21 in year one.
Menzies was hired in April 2016 in a somewhat awkward situation: UNLV had already tabbed Chris Beard as their new head coach, but Beard backed out after less than three weeks and took the Texas Tech job instead. So Coach Menzies’ tenure started on a strange foot, a public back-up plan for the Rebels (through no fault of his own, of course). He struggled in year one but had two straight winning seasons leading up to Friday’s firing.
The contract that Menzies signed was for five years and guaranteed him $800K for each of his final two seasons, so that is likely the price ($1.6M) that UNLV will pay to make this move.
So what is next for UNLV? One would think they will look to make a splashy hire when shelling out that kind of money in a buyout. Would they be bold enough to bring Rick Pitino back into college basketball? Or perhaps a coach like Ben Howland, who may be eager to leave Starkville for the bright lights of Las Vegas?
Some more names that could pop up include former UNLV assistants (under Lon Kruger) Lew Hill and Steve Henson, who are making waves as head coaches right now at UTRGV and UTSA, respectively, former UNLV associate head coach Justin Hutson, who has already won 23 games in his first season at conference foe Fresno State, or perhaps Minnesota assistant Rob Jeter, the former Milwaukee head coach who spent 2016-18 at UNLV.
h/t to Chadd Cady/San Diego Union Tribune for the photo