UNLV has developed a strange problem. Whoever is the head coach has a dream job outside of Las Vegas, and that dream job keeps opening up.
Chris Beard bolted for Texas Tech less than a month after taking the job. T.J. Otzelberger ditched UNLV for Iowa State after two seasons.
But that may be changing with new head coach Kevin Kruger.
“This is not a stepping stone for me personally. I don’t see five years into the future being anywhere else or 10 years in the future being anywhere else,” Kruger said
“Not a stepping stone at all. This is where we want to be. This is home.”
If this is home for Kruger then UNLV won’t have to look over its shoulder every offseason worried about what power conference jobs open up. If this is not a stepping stone, Kruger’s success will not come with the fear of losing him.
Kruger’s dedication to UNLV might have been a major factor in his hiring. While listing her reasons for hiring Kruger, Desiree Reed-Francois said they were looking for a coach that would make Las Vegas a long-term home.
Kruger played for one season at UNLV under his father. That Rebel team was the last to go to the Sweet 16. Since his playing career ended, Kruger jumped from Northern Arizona to Oklahoma to UNLV as an assistant. And now he plans to stay in Vegas for a long time as a head coach.
It will be interesting to see if Kruger would be lured to a higher paying job in the future. How easy will it be to turn down a higher salary in a better conference? Rarely do schools in mid major conferences hold on to successful coaches.
But that is a bright future for UNLV. If Kruger has enough success to land a better job, surely UNLV will have actually made an NCAA Tournament or two. There’s no way UNLV will lose a third head coach to a bigger job without actual on-court success, right?
But that is all a hypothetical. For now Kevin Kruger is UNLV’s head coach and says he plans to be here for years to come.
“UNLV and the city of Las Vegas is as special as it gets to us,” Kruger said.