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Musselman Hired As Hogs Next Hoops Coach

(FAYETTEVILLE)  Eric Musselman is the new Head Mens Basketball coach of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.

Musselman, 54, will be introduced at a 3 p.m. news conference today in Walton Arena after Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek announced his hiring Sunday.

Over the previous four seasons, Musselman coached the University of Nevada in Reno to a 110-34 record.

Nevada won Mountain West Conference championships and made NCAA Tournament appearances in each of the past three seasons, with records of 28-7, 29-8 and 29-5.

The Wolf Pack advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2018, when they beat Texas and Cincinnati before losing to Loyola-Chicago.

Musselman is replacing Mike Anderson, who was fired March 26 by Yurachek after eight seasons as Arkansas’ coach. Anderson had a 169-102 record with NCAA Tournament appearances in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

The Arkansas job will be Musselman’s second college head coaching position, but he has extensive experience in the professional ranks, including a combined three seasons as an NBA head coach with Golden State and Sacramento. His father, Bill Musselman, was a longtime NBA and college coach.

“Eric Musselman is a coach that has had experience at every level of basketball from the NCAA to the NBA,” Yurachek said in a news release. “He was practically born into the game and his passion for basketball is unmistakable.”

Nevada was 9-22 the season before Musselman took the job. The Wolf Pack finished 24-14 in his first season and won the 2016 College Basketball Invitational championship by taking two of three games from Morehead (Ky.) State in the finals.

In 2017, Nevada made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007.

“[Musselman] has been successful throughout his career, including the remarkable job he did in returning the University of Nevada into a perennial NCAA Tournament team,” Yurachek said. “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.”

Musselman signed a five-year, $12.5 million letter of agreement with Arkansas. His $2.5 million annual salary will be slightly less than Anderson’s salary of $2,550,000. Musselman’s annual salary at Nevada was $1 million, not including incentive bonuses.

If Arkansas makes the NCAA Tournament, Musselman can receive as many as two one-year extensions and two $100,000 annual raises.

Musselman’s salary would be increased by $250,000 for leading the Razorbacks to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996 and by $350,000 if Arkansas makes its first Final Four appearance since 1995. A $500,000 increase is attached to winning a national championship, of which Arkansas has only one, from 1994.

Musselman’s contract has a no-compete clause, which prohibits him from accepting a coaching job at another SEC school. He will owe Arkansas $5 million if he resigns before April 30, 2021, with the buyout dropping to $1.5 million between May 2021 and April 2022; $1 million between May 2022 and April 2024; and $750,000 for any years earned as an extension.

If Musselman is fired for convenience by Arkansas, then UA would owe him 70 percent of the guaranteed amount remaining on his contract, including for any years earned through NCAA Tournament appearances.

Bonuses for Musselman include $100,000 for an SEC regular-season or tournament title; $25,000 for being the SEC coach of the year; $50,000 for being the NCAA coach of the year; and up to $25,000 in academic bonuses.

Musselman will get 10 free season tickets for basketball and five free season tickets for every other Arkansas sport. He will get two free, lent vehicles or a car allowance not to exceed $8,400 annually. He has moving expenses paid up to $25,000 and three months of free housing. He also will get a free membership at a local golf club and athletic club.

Arkansas has agreed to pay a $1 million buyout Musselman owes Nevada.

“My family and I couldn’t be more excited to be coming to the University of Arkansas,” Musselman said in a statement. “The opportunity to be a part of the rich tradition of Razorback Basketball and to experience the passion of the Razorback fans is something that I am very much looking forward to.

“I am appreciative of the professional manner in which Hunter Yurachek conducted the search and am grateful for the support of Chancellor [Joe] Steinmetz and all of those affiliated with the University of Arkansas.

“I am ready to get to work with our student-athletes to prepare our program to compete at the highest level of college basketball.”

Musselman has one season of experience in the SEC. He was an LSU assistant coach for Johnny Jones during the 2014-15 season when the Tigers finished 22-11 and played in the NCAA Tournament. It was the only NCAA Tournament appearance for LSU in Jones’ five seasons as coach.

Before going to LSU, Musselman was an assistant coach at Arizona State for two seasons from 2012-14.

As an NBA head coach, Musselman led Golden State and Sacramento to a combined 108-138 record.

After the Warriors went 38-44 during the 2002-03 season, Musselman finished second in the NBA coach of the year voting to San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.

Musselman led Golden State to a 37-45 record during the 2003-04 season and was fired. He coached Sacramento to a 33-49 record during the 2006-07 season and was fired.

After being a backup guard at the University of San Diego from 1983-87, Musselman began his coaching career in Rapid City.

The next season, Musselman joined his father as an assistant coach in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also was an NBA assistant with Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis.

In addition to Rapid City, Musselman’s other stops have included the West Palm Beach Dogs in the CBA and the Reno Bighorns and Los Angeles D-Fenders in the NBA Developmental League, now known as the G League. He coached the Florida Sharks in the United States Basketball League, and he has coached for USA Basketball and internationally with teams in China, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Steinmetz said in a news release that he applauded Yurachek’s handling of the coaching search and hiring of Musselman.

“The process was rigorous and thorough,” Steinmetz said. “I had the opportunity to speak to Coach Musselman a few days ago and I am confident that he will be a great leader for our basketball team and contribute to the players’ growth as athletes and as successful students.”

Musselman’s introduction today is open to the public. Walton Arena doors will open at 2 p.m. with fans able to enter through the south entrance. Public parking is available in lots 46, 56, 56B, 59, 60 and 67, with the exception of resident-reserved spaces.

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