The Muss Bus is officially leaving Reno.
After four historic years with the silver and blue, Nevada Men’s Basketball head coach Eric Musselman will move on to Fayetteville to be hired as head coach for the University of Arkansas, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported, and Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth confirmed.
“I want to thank Eric Musselman for four thrilling seasons with the Wolf Pack and elevating the Nevada Men’s Basketball program to the top of the Mountain West Conference. We wish Eric and Danyelle nothing but the best moving forward,” said Knuth in a statement Sunday. “We will immediately begin a national search for the next leader of the Wolf Pack’s Men’s Basketball program and will have no further comment until that search is completed.”
Jeff Goodman of the sports network Stadium posted a tweet Tuesday that Musselman was a “serious candidate” for the position.
More rumors surfaced that Musselman was in Fayetteville, but were shot down from his wife Danyelle Musselman, stating via a text message to the Reno Gazette-Journal, “He’s here in Reno with no plans to go anywhere.”
Former guard Caleb Martin posted a video Wednesday on Twitter of him and Musselman at Reno High School working out in the gym, and Musselman responded, “Relationships don’t stop when the season ends #constantimprovement.”
It was announced Sunday that Musselman will take his coaching talents to Fayetteville, replacing Mike Anderson. Arkansas reached the big dance in 2015, 2016 and 2018 under Anderson.
Musselman inherits an 18-16 team, with an 8-10 SEC conference record in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball. The Hogs reached the NIT but fell 63-60 to Indiana in the second round after an 84-72 win over Providence in the opening round.
“Eric Musselman is a coach that has had experience at every level of basketball from the NCAA to the NBA,” Hunter Yurachek, Arkansas’ Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, said Sunday. “He was practically born into the game and his passion for basketball is unmistakable. He has been successful throughout his career, including his remarkable job he did in returning the University of Nevada into a perennial NCAA Tournament team. Coach Musselman is high-energy and possesses an extremely high basketball IQ. He has a great attention to detail and has structured his programs to develop players individually while building a successful team. I am pleased to welcome Coach Musselman, his wife Danyelle and his family to the Razorback family.”
Prior to his collegiate head coaching career, Musselman was an assistant in the NBA under notable coaches Chuck Daly, Lon Kruger and Doc Rivers. He has been a head coach seven times in his career, including stints with the Sacramento Kings from 2006-07 and Golden State Warriors and 2002-04, going 108-138 in his NBA career.
He coached as an assistant from 2013-15 under Herb Sandek at Arizona State, and Johnny Jones — who would later become his assistant at Nevada — at Louisiana State University.
Musselman took over in 2015, leading the Pack to four consecutive 24-plus win seasons after inheriting a nine-win team. Musselman led Nevada to a CBI championship his first season, followed by the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007 in 2017.
The Pack reached two more NCAA berths, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2018, tying a school-high 29 wins in 2018 and 2019. Nevada leaped into seventh in the AP Preseason Top 25, reaching the top five for the first time in school history in 2019.
In his tenure with the Pack, Musselman went 110-34 with a .764 win percentage — sixth-best among active Division I coaches — only behind Sonny Allen and Mark Fox for the most wins in program history.
It is unclear how the 2019 recruiting class will shape up with Musselman gone. His 2019 class featured Eric Parrish, Shamiel Stevenson, Mike Lewis and Daryl Edwards, all of which were transfers from different schools. With all five starters from last year’s team graduating, Lindsey Drew, Jalen Harris Jazz Johnson, Jordan Brown and Nisre Zouzoua are the only returning players, assuming they all decide to stay.
The 54-year old entertained outside-options in 2017. He interviewed for California head coaching position twice but elected to return to Reno on a five-year, $5 million dollar deal. Musselman will owe $1 million within 90 days, plus extra incentives earned this past season.
Matt Hanifan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.