RENO — There’s a new millionaire in Reno.
Eric Musselman’s new five-year contract calls for him to make $1 million per year for five seasons. The contract, which runs through 2022, makes him the highest-paid coach in University of Nevada history.
Musselman’s old base contract was for $400,000, and that will remain. The extra $600,000 a year of his salary is being generated through two sources — private donors and community support through ticket sales. According to school officials, a group of donors has signed multi-year pledges through the UNR Foundation to assist with the compensation.
“My family and I could not be happier to continue to be part of the University of Nevada and the Northern Nevada community,” Musselman said. “We are very grateful to President (Marc) Johnson and Doug Knuth for the commitment they have made to me and the Nevada basketball program.
“We are very proud of what our program has accomplished to this point, but even more excited for what we can accomplish in the years to come. I am confident that we have a bright future because of all the incredible people that are committed to this program, day in and day out, and fans fuel us with their incredible enthusiasm and unwavering support.”
Musselman has several incentives in his contract.
A bonus of $10,000 for winning or tying for a regular-season championship.
A bonus of $10,000 for winning the conference postseason tournament.
Another $10,000 if he’s named Coach of the Year or Co-Coach of the Year.
A total of $10,000 for each round played in the NCAA Tournament.
He gets $100,000 if he makes the Final Four and he gets $100,000 if he wins the NCAA title.
He gets $10,000 for making the NIT Final Four
He gets $25,000 for advancing to the NIT championship.
He gets $50,000 if he wins the NIT.
He also gets an automobile (loaner), 12 season basketball tickets and four season tickets to all other athletic programs at the University of Nevada.
“Very simply, coach Muss has completely changed the trajectory of our men’s basketball program,” said Doug Knuth, athletic director in a university press release. “We are thrilled with what we have accomplished over the past two seasons and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.
“To be sure, there is more work to be done. But with the continued support of an engaged community and our campus leadership, there are no limits to the potential of the Wolf Pack program.”
Musselman took over a program that won nine games under David Carter, and he turned it around in a hurry.
The Pack went 24-14 and won the College Basketball Invitational in Musselman’s first year, and followed that up in the 2016-17 season with a 28-7 record and an NCAA appearance, the school’s first in 10 years.
It was a tremendous show of support by the Reno community last season.
Lawlor became a cool place to be, as the Pack averaged 8,923 which was more than the Nevada teams averaged during the four-year NCAA run under Trent Johnson and then Mark Fox. Nevada had six crowds of more than 10,000, and drew an all-time record of 11,841 in a 104-77 whipping of in-state rival UNLV.
More than 11,000 packed Lawlor when the Pack knocked off Colorado State, 87-72, to win the school’s first Mountain West regular-season championship. The increased fan support has shown growth in the ticket revenue, which has allowed the athletics department to use the additional funds as part of the new compensation package.
Musselman has put a winning project on the floor, and the community has embraced the personable coach, who’s giving back $50,000 a year to the school as his way of saying thank you for the support.