After four historic seasons at Nevada, coach Eric Musselman appears to be moving onto his next challenge.
The Wolf Pack’s head basketball coach since March 2015 is in final negotiations to accept the the same position at Arkansas, according to a multiple national reports. Nevada Sports Net has confirmed the news with multiple sources.
Musselman rescued Nevada from three straight losing seasons after being hired four years ago. He returned the Wolf Pack to the NCAA Tournament in his second season, a run of three straight bids in the national event, including a Sweet 16 run in 2018. In each of the last two seasons, Musselman’s teams have tied the program record with 29 wins, with his team reaching fifth in the AP Top 25 this season.
During his four-year tenure at Nevada, his first as a head coach in college, Musselman guided the Wolf Pack to an 110-34 record and 52-17 mark in the Mountain West. He led Nevada to a CBI championship in his first season; MW regular-season and tournament titles in year two; and a repeat of the MW regular-season crown in year three and year four as Nevada became the third MW school with three straight regular-season championships.
Musselman also helped revitalize a floundering fan base. Nevada set a record for average home attendance in 2016-17 and topped that figure again in 2017-18 and 2018-19 with an average of 10,877 fans per game this season. That ranked fourth on the West Coast behind Arizona, BYU and New Mexico.
The 54-year-old coach’s ability to turn a nine-win program into an NCAA Tournament regular caught the attention of bigger schools. He interviewed twice for the Cal position two offseason ago but decided to return to Nevada under a new five-year, $5 million deal, the richest in school history. Per his contract, Musselman will owe Nevada $1 million within 90 days of terminating his contract. Musselman also must forfeit all of his bonuses earned from the 2018-19 season, a figure that runs into the six figures.
Musselman leaves behind a solid roster, although one that loses its entire starting five, including All-MW players Caleb Martin, Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline. In all, Nevada loses six seniors, but it does return a solid corps of Lindsey Drew, Jordan Brown, Jalen Harris, Jazz Johnson, K.J. Hymes, Nisre Zouzoua, as well as a recruiting class that includes Eric Parrish, Shamiel Stevenson, Daryl Edwards and Mike Lewis II, assuming each returns to school.
At Arkansas, Musselman inherits a program that went 18-16 last season and reached the NIT, where it lost in the second round to Indiana. The Razorbacks fired Mike Anderson following the season, his eighth in Fayetteville. Anderson averaged 21.1 wins during his tenure and reached three NCAA Tournaments, including two second-round appearances. He also got two the NIT second round twice.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates on NevadaSportsNet.com throughout the day.