Nevada Basketball Head Coaching Candidate List
A list of names that might be involved in the Nevada head coaching search
Who will succeed Musselman in Reno?
Now that Eric Musselman is off to take over the Arkansas job, it’s time to think about where Nevada will go for its next men’s basketball head coach. Athletic director Doug Knuth has already announced that he plans to run a national search. Below are a few names that figure to be involved in the candidacy.
In most instances, head coaching vacancies leave one or two in-house guys that can vie for the new position. Gus Argenal fits the bill this time around, and he already has the support or current and former Wolf Pack players as well the rest of the Nevada community. Argenal was on Eric Musselman’s staff the past two years after coming over from a four-year stint with D-II Cal State East Bay. He has also been on the coaching staffs at Rice and UC Davis. Idaho State has already extended interest in hiring Argenal to become its next head coach.
The Montana head coach seems to be rumored whenever a quality West Coast job opens up. It’s unknown whether DeCuire truly wants to spend the foreseeable future in Montana or is waiting to jump for a major head coaching position. DeCuire has done an excellent job with the Big Sky power, capturing 109 victories over five seasons and reaching the NCAA Tournament the past two years. The Seattle native was an assistant at Old Dominion and Cal before heading to Montana.
UC Irvine’s rise to Big West prominence is largely due to Russell Turner’s coaching over the past decade. Over nine seasons, Turner’s Anteaters have won 188 games, captured four of the last six regular season Big West titles, and broke through with an NCAA Tournament victory last month with an upset over fourth-seeded Kansas State. Five of the last six years have been 20+ win seasons for Irvine, and Turner is poised to take over a major program in the near future.
Roll your eyes if you want. I understand that hiring a former UNLV head coach isn’t flashy and some Nevada fans might even think it’s completely distasteful. Regardless, Dave Rice has nearly three decades of coaching experience, is one of the best recruiters in the nation, and is already familiar with Nevada having been on the staff as an assistant in ’16-17. Pair Rice with a solid staff underneath him, and you have a mid-major program that will be able to gather consistent talent and continue to compete for MW titles.
An obvious gray cloud hovers over Pasternack’s name after being linked to the college basketball FBI investigation with the recruitment, then on the Arizona staff as an assistant. The current UC Santa Barbara head coach has gone 45-19 in his first two seasons with the Gauchos, though he has yet to record an NCAA Tournament appearance. Pasternack also went 38-54 as head coach in three years with New Orleans from 2007 to 2010.
The Reno native has had just 36 games as a Division-I head coach, filling in as an interim for the terminated Rick Pitino at Louisville in ’17-18. He guided the Cardinals to a 22-win season, a tremendous coaching job given UL’s circumstances. Padgett might still need more experience before taking over the reins of a D-I program, but Nevada could be the right fit for both parties.
Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.