UNLV Makes T.J. Otzelberger Highest Paid Mountain West Basketball Coach
$1.1 million for the new Rebels coach.
Where do other Mountain West coaches stack up.
When UNLV made the hire to bring in T.J. Otzelberger from South Dakota State, the hire was not a splashy hire in name recognition but this is a quality coach.
The Rebels elected to pay Otzelberger as a high-profile coach and rewarded him with five-year contract worth $1.1 million annually plus a $100,000 pay raise per year which makes his final year $1.6 million.
This deal also makes Otzelberger the highest paid coach in the Mountain West and $400,000 more than the Rebels were paying Marvin Menzies.
Below is the most recent pay for the Mountain West coaches.
1. T.J. Otzelberger, UNLV, $1.1 Million
2. Eric Mussleman, Nevada, $1 million
3. Brian Dutcher, San Diego State, $805,000
4. Niko Medved, CSU, $700,000
5. Leon Rice, Boise State, $675,000
6. Craig Smith, Utah State, $650,000
7. Paul Weir, New Mexico, $625,000
8. Justin Hutson, Fresno State, $500,000
9. Allen Edwards, Wyoming, $490,000
10. Dave Pilopovich, Air Force, $425,000
11. Jean Prioleau, San Jose State, NA
The real question is why is UNLV breaking the bank for a coach that has virtually no name recognition and part of his success at South Dakota State was arguably having its best player ever in Mike Daum?
Otzelberger has made a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances to go along with a pair of first-place finishes in the Summit League and a pair of conference tournament wins as well.
He clearly knows what he is doing and has taken a talented roster and won, but what is not known is how can he do building a program. The Rebels can still attract talent but the issue has been getting the players on the court to achieve that potential.
What will the rest of the Mountain West do? Nevada has had a lot more success with Eric Musselman going to the Sweet 16 round in the NCAA Tournament, Brian Dutcher at San Diego State had a great season two years ago and made it to the NCAA Tournament in his first year and then Craig Smith who vastly overachieved and took Utah State to the NCAA Tournament, also in his first year.
Perhaps this is great for the conference with slaries going up so that in the future these schools can bring in good coaching talent for the next hire or even better would be to retain coaches that have success while being looked at by other big name programs.