T.J. Otzelberger is on the verge of leaving UNLV for the Iowa State job. But UNLV fans are not upset about it.
In an extremely scientific poll of over 600 Twitter users, 58.2 percent of fans said they were happy to see Otzelberger go.
Constant turnover has been a major problem for UNLV. Some of it is self inflicted, but a lot has been unfortunate timing. I don’t think you should be happy to see Otzelberger leave.
Sure his second season was disappointing, but UNLV was solid in Otzelberger’s first season. Plus losing the coach creates a lot of uncertainty heading into next season. Could UNLV be staring at another multi-year rebuild like the last two coaches tried to pull off?
Despite all of that, this might be the ideal time to lose a head coach.
First, UNLV will receive a nice payout. Otzelberger’s buyout is $3.15 million. Coupling that with Otzelberger’s salary ($1.3 next seasons rising to $1.5 million in 2023-24) should give UNLV the opportunity to pay the next coach a lot of money.
Financially, UNLV should be in as good a place as possible after losing a head coach during a pandemic.
Second, even if Otzelberger stayed, the roster would need to be rebuilt for next season anyway. Otzelberger was expected to be active in the transfer portal this offseason. UNLV needs a point guard. And if Bryce Hamilton or David Jenkins leaves, they will need another scoring threat as well.
Simply put, even with Otzelberger in place, the Rebels needed to add at least two high level players to have any shot at competing in the Mountain West next season.
UNLV might lose top-50 recruit Arthur Kaluma if Otzelberger leaves – and that sucks. But if Desiree Reed-Francois can land a coach early, the Rebels might have a chance to land some impact transfers.
And maybe UNLV can compete in the Mountain West despite major instability at the coaching level.