RENO, Nev. (AP) — The state Board of Regents approved a five-year contract worth $2 million Thursday for new Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman, a two-time former NBA coach who says he's already on the recruiting trail and is planning to run a high-octane offense.
Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth formally introduced Musselman at the Lawlor Events Center on the Reno campus shortly after the regents in Las Vegas approved the deal that offers additional incentives, including $10,000 for winning the Mountain West Conference title and another $10,000 for making the NCAA tournament.
The 50-year-old former coach of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors who spent this past season as an assistant at LSU has already informed his new team everyone will have to be "in unbelievable physical condition."
"I told the players today that I don't have an offense that takes 30 seconds to run. So, even if I wanted to milk the shot clock, I can't do it," Musselman told reporters.
"In most of our plays and our sets offensively, we want to play as fast as possible," he said, adding that the Warriors were the second highest-scoring team in the NBA when he coached there from 2002-04 before coaching the Kings in 2006-07.
"We told them they have to have a great commitment from now until our first game, because the pace we play at both offensively and defensively is at a high-octane place. And we tell our players we want to be cosmetically pleasing to the fans," Musselman said. "We're going to ask a lot out of them from a physical standpoint to play the style we want defensively. We want to try to create turnovers. We want our defense to create turnovers for us."
Musselman's career has included a year stint as coach of the NBA D-League's Reno Bighorns 2010-11. He replaces coach David Carter, who was fired earlier this month after Nevada suffered its third consecutive losing season.
Knuth said he wanted a coach who would excel in the three distinct areas he believes critical to getting Nevada's program "back to the top of the conference and back into post-season play."
"You talk about recruiting (and) player development, and engaging with this great community," he said. "Frankly there is nobody — nobody with the skills, nobody with the ability and knowledge to get us there quicker and do everything the right way than Eric Musselman."
Musselman said he was on his cellphone talking to recruits Thursday as they monitored a teleconference as the regents finished up formal action on his contract.
"The lifeblood of our program is going to be recruiting," he said.
Technically, Musselman's "base contract" totals $1.5 million over five years — with a base annual salary of $300,000 and the other $500,00 available in $100,000 annual bonuses dependent on him making radio, television and other appearances, Nevada associate athletic director Chad Hartley said.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported those demands are minimal — 10 television/internet appearances, 10 on the radio and five donor/public appearances per year. Additional incentives range from $5,000 bonuses for such things as qualifying for the NIT or being named MWC coach of the year, to $25,000 if Nevada makes the NCAA Final Four and $50,000 for winning the national title.