RENO — Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman has opted to return to Nevada after meeting with University of California officials on consecutive days earlier this week, according to reports.
Musselman met with Cal, which lost Cuozo Martin to Missouri, on Monday and Tuesday. According to cbssports.com, Musselman took himself out of the running. Nevada officials have yet to comment.
Musselman, 52, has guided the Wolf Pack to a CBI championship, a regular-season Mountain West title and a MW postseason title in his two years at the helm. He’s 52-21 after taking over a team that went 9-22 three years ago under David Carter. The CBI title was the first national title in school history, and the MW crown was also the first in school history.
“My family and I love Northern Nevada and the Wolf Pack community. I love the bond we have created as a team and I’m extremely excited about the future of Wolf Pack basketball,” Musselman said in a released statement by the university. Musselman and the school are in the process of finalizing a new contract.
Nevada Athletic Director Doug Knuth said during the NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee he’d offered Musselman a new contract two weeks ago, but said the coach wanted to concentrate on “winning games.”
Knuth admitted in Milwaukee that Nevada currently wasn’t in position to pay a coach $1 million or $2 million a year, but he certainly wanted to give Musselman a raise and keep him around for as long as possible.
Brian Polian, the former Nevada football coach, was paid $585,000 a year, and one would have to figure Musselman’s new salary would be in that ballpark if not a little more. Musselman currently has a base salary of $350,000 a season plus bonuses.
Several jobs opened up late this season, but Cal was the most logical landing spot because his youngest son attends Monte Vista High in Danville, a suburb of the Oakland-San Francisco area.
Cal could have accurately been described as Musselman’s “dream job” even just a year ago given his family ties and recruiting strength in the Bay Area. However, he will return to Nevada for a third season. Musselman said earlier this month his family was happy in Reno.
Musselman was asked at the MW Tournament about the rumors swirling around him.
“I’m happy and my wife is happy,” he said during the MW Tournament. “My sons are happy. President Johnson and Doug Knuth gave me an opportunity when no one else would, and trusted in our vision. So our (players) haven’t said anything and we have more than an open policy where our guys talk to me about everything. And I don’t think it’s affected us at all. And it shouldn’t.
“I’m happy I get to drive over and watch my son play high school basketball. My other son (going to the University of San Diego) can jump on a flight and see me in 45 minutes. And my wife is involved, and she does too much, actually, in the community. So it’s all good.”