Dave Rice has not even been relived of his duties as the UNLV basketball coach for 24 hours and there are already names surfacing as who could be his replacement. Coaching UNLV is a quality job, just look at who they were able to recruit over the past few years with the multiple four-and five-star player, but the chemistry and talent was not developed under Rice.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman is reporting that former NBA head coach Mike Brown is already in the mix to be the next Rebels head coach. Brown has only coached at the NBA level and his most recent job was the head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2013-14 season. Getting a former NBA head coach would be a big deal in Las Vegas and with the right staff recruiting should not be an issue, but what might be an issue is paying Brown enough to coach at UNLV.
Here is a list of other names that will be tossed around during the hire.
Reggie Theus, current Cal State Northridge head coach: Theus was in the running for previous UNLV openings, and currently is coaching in the Big West. The former UNLV player has both college and pro experience as a head coach. His most successful college years was at New Mexico State where he led them to a 25-9 record and a 2007 NCAA tournament berth.
Justin Hutson, San Diego State assistant coach: Hutson was the top assistant for Rice during his first two years at UNLV, and those just happen to be the only two years that the Rebels made the NCAA Tournament under the now fired head coach. Huston was considered a candidate when Rice nearly left for South Florida, and he is a key recruiter and a reason San Diego State has been as good the past few years. Would he want to leave the Aztecs where he might be in line to replace the aging Steve Fisher?
Marvin Menzies, New Mexico State head coach: Menzies has been with the Aggies and took over for Theus when he left for the Sacramento Kings job in 2007. Since then he has led New Mexico State to five NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of conference titles.
Steve Henson, Oklahoma assistant coach: Hanson was an assistant coach at UNLV under Lon Kruger for seven years and followed him to the Sooners. This could be a natural step up in his coaching career.
Jay Wright, Villanova coach: This might be a long shot for UNLV but Wright does have ties to Las Vegas where he was an assistant coach for the Rebels for two years under Rollie Massimino. However, the cost very likely could be a prohibitive factor since he makes $2.7 million per year at Villanova.
Rice's base salary was $300,000 plus incentives, also to consider is that Rice's contract is fully guaranteed if he is fired, meaning UNLV owes him $900,000 plus the rest of this season since his previous contract went through 2019. The buyout and the cost to lure Wright away seems out of reach for UNLV.
Here are a few other names toss out by Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
UNLV's top candidates: Steve Lavin, Steve Henson, Mike Brown, Dan Majerle, Tim Floyd. Longer shots: Reggie Theus, Justin Hutson, Jay Wright— Matt Youmans (@mattyoumans247) January 11, 2016