The UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball team started of Mountain West play 0-3, with their latest loss coming at the hands of the Wyoming Cowboys, and overall they are now 9-7 this year. The Rebels started the season at 8-2 with a win over Indiana and Oregon which were ranked at the time of victory, but then proceeded to lose five of their last six.
That poor start has led to UNLV firing head coach Dave Rice, first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Dave Rice has been fired as UNLV basketball coach, according to sources. But the school has not confirmed it. #RJnow @RJ_Sports— Matt Youmans (@mattyoumans247) January 11, 2016
CBS Sports is reporting that a source said boosters were a reason why Rice was relieved of his duties.
"The money-people are ready for a change. That's why it happened now."
UNLV has named Todd Simon as its interim coach for the rest of the season, and that makes sense since Simon previously coached at Findlay Prep, which is located in Las Vegas.
Rice's status of the head coach for UNLV has been in question since the coach has been able to bring in top talent to Las Vegas but the success has not been on par with the recruiting classes.
Rice averaged averaged 22.5 wins in his first four years but never won an NCAA tournament game. Wins per year were 26, 25, 20 and 18, with this year he was on pace for 16 or 17 wins. He went to the NCAA's his first two seasons.
Since 2013, Rice brought in top 20 classes each year. 2013 was 18th, 2014 was fifth, 2015 was 10th and 2015 was a 10th rated class. Rice also has had the No. 1 overall pick in Anthony Bennett in the 2013 class. The talent was clearly there but the on the court success was lacking on the big stage.