From all accounts and reports, Cincinnati's Mick Cronin is the lead candidate to replace Dave Rice as the new UNLV head coach. The Rebels are upping their commitment and could pay at the very least $2 million per year for the next guy.
Cronin arrived in Las Vegas Tuesday night and is meeting with officials from the schools and officially interviewing for the job. He is also the only known candidate to be interviewing for the job, the other three were all internal candidates.
There is also some talk that Cronin is using his interest in UNLV to get a better deal from his alma mater Cincinnati. Yahoo's Pat Forde says this is not the first time Cronin has tried this.
There is speculation Cronin is leveraging the UNLV job for more at Cincinnati. If so, it's a pretty brassy move for a guy who has played that card before recently and doesn't really have the results to back up a power play.
Forde makes some interesting points that are spot on. Cronin has brought the Bearcats closer back to what they were under Bob Huggins, but not yet a national power. He has led Cincinnati to six consecutive NCAA tournaments, but missed the previous four. His record in the Big Dance is not that great after reaching the Sweet 16 in 2012, and since then they are just 1-4 in the NCAA's.
The leverage is not quite there for Cronin to pull a power play to increase his salary which is already at $2.2 million for a coach who has one victory in the last four NCAA tournaments. Had he pulled off multiple Sweet 16 appearances and a trip or two in the Elite Eight then this could be the right move to try to get more pay from his current employer.
Making over $2 million per year is nothing to sneeze at and if Cronin thinks he is worth more than that at UNLV, Cincinnati or anywhere else he should do what is in best interest for him and his family.
However, there is one problem with his plan and that as the Bearcats are doing everything they can to improve their athletic image to either be at the top of the American or hope the upgrades will someday get them into the Big 12. They are fast tracking basketball projects to help reach this goal but giving more money to Cronin is apparently not there.
So, if he really is using UNLV to get more money out of Cincinnati it seems that he might be trying to squeeze water out of a rock.