UNLV Basketball Head Coach Candidates

It is March which means UNLV is looking for a new head coach while the NCAA Tournament takes place. 

Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that T.J. Otzelberger will take the Iowa State head coaching job.

So here is a list of completely unsourced potential candidates.

Rick Pitino (Iona)

Pitino is currently coaching Iona, who made the NCAA Tournament as a 15 seed. But his buyout is $10 million now. He clearly has the history to create excitement. But UNLV definitely does not have that kind of money to spend before even paying a coach’s salary. Plus I’d bet there is no way Reed-Francois hires Pitino. 

Tim Miles (Big Ten Network)

Is this just stealing from the New Mexico search? Miles didn’t coach the past two seasons after he was fired by Nebraska in 2019. But he took Nebraska to an NCAA Tournament and two NITs in seven seasons. Maybe more impressively was his ability to take Colorado State from seven wins to the NCAA Tournament in five seasons. 

Kevin Kruger (UNLV – assistant) 

Kruger would be a first-time head coach and would fit Desiree Reed-Francois’ profile. He would also give UNLV the best chance to keep the current roster together (though that might not be a positive). The more important question is which job is Kruger’s dream job: UNLV or Arizona State?

Todd Simon (Southern Utah)

Simon took the Southern Utah job after he got the interim tag at UNLV when Dave Rice was fired midseason in 2016. He took over a team that was 6-24 before he got there and turned them into a 20-4 team in 2021. He hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament, but Simon is proving to be worthy of a higher-level job.

Stacey Augmon (Sacramento Kings – player development)

It wouldn’t be a UNLV coaching search without Stacey Augmon. The former Rebel has been on Twitter lamenting Juwan Howard’s success at Michigan. Could a former player turned first time college head coach work at UNLV? Probably not to Michigan’s level. But it can’t be much worse than the last eight seasons.

Thad Matta (Retired)


Larry Krystkowiak (Utah – Fired)

Krystkowiak was recently fired by Utah after five straight seasons without an NCAA Tournament appearance. He took Utah to back to back NCAA Tournaments in 2015 and 2016. But the last two years at Utah have looked similar to Otzelberger’s two seasons, as the Utes have gone 28-28.

Ultimately, I’d expect Desiree Reed-Francois to hire an unheralded candidate. She loves up and coming coaches (Kruger and Simon might fit the mold).

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