University of Nevada head men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman has added former UNLV head coach Dave Rice to his staff. In nearly five seasons, Rice posted a 98-54 record leading the Rebels basketball program.
“When Coach Rice and I started the interview process 10 days ago, I was extremely impressed,” Musselman said. “His philosophy along with his Xs and Os knowledge of the game are outstanding. He is a proven recruiter at the national level having signed several highly ranked classes that included individuals who had great collegiate and professional success. Anyone who has sat in the head coaches chair and has been so successful at the collegiate level is going to be a great addition to our staff. He has been to the NCAA Tournament as a player and coach, and won an NCAA Championship as a player. Those are places we want to reach with the Wolf Pack basketball program and he will help us attain those goals.”
“I am excited to join Coach Musselman's staff. I have tremendous respect for his leadership and his proven ability and determination to build a nationally significant program,” Rice said. “I am pleased to part of a very diligent and hardworking staff. There is great tradition in basketball at Nevada and a big part of that is outstanding community and campus support. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Coach Muss, our players, and staff as we are committed to adding to the strong tradition of Nevada Wolf Pack basketball.”
In his first two seasons, Rice led the Rebels to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2012 and 2013. His first squad went 26-9 and he became the winningest first year coach at UNLV. The 2012-13 team posted a 25-10 mark to earn a second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. In year three the Rebels again won 20 games posting a 20-13 overall record.
His first UNLV team was ranked in the top 25 for 13 consecutive weeks and 14 overall, reaching as high as No. 11. Rice’s second team was ranked for 11 weeks in a row.
Rice led the Rebels to 10 wins over top 25 teams during his tenure at UNLV including a 90-80 upset of No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 26, 2011. This past season the Rebels defeated No. 13 Indiana and No. 15 Oregon.
An outstanding recruiter, two of his classes ranked in the top 10 and the third came in at No. 11. The 2012 class was ranked seventh by ESPN and the 2014 group was ranked fifth by Rivals.com. The 2015 class earned the No. 11 ranking.
The 2012 class included Mountain West Freshman of the Year, Anthony Bennett who was selected first by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2000 NBA draft. In 2014 Rashad Vaughn was named the MW Freshman of the Year and was drafted 17th by Milwaukee.
Rice spent 18 years as an NCAA Division I assistant coach prior to being named the 11th head coach at UNLV. From 2005-2011 he worked at BYU, first as an assistant coach and the last three seasons as associate head coach. While at BYU the Cougars posted five consecutive 25-win seasons and earned five straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. BYU reached the 2011 Sweet 16. They finished the year ranked 10th and were led by National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette. In 2010 in a FoxSports.com poll, he was selected by the MW coaches as the top assistant coach in the conference.
A veteran of the MW, Rice has coached in the conference in all but one of his 23 seasons as a NCAA Division I head and assistant coach. He was an assistant coach at UNLV when the conference began operations in July of 1999. His one season away from the MW came in 2004-05, when coached in the Big Sky Conference at Utah State and the Aggies went 24-8. After placing second in the regular season, USU won the Big West Conference tournament to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Rice played two seasons at UNLV (1989-91) as a reserve guard for Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian. The Rebels reached the Final Four each season and captured the 1990 title going 35-5. UNLV went 69-6 and won 45 consecutive games during his time as a player. Rice played two seasons at Mt. San Jacinto (1987-89) before transferring to UNLV.
Following his playing days he served as a graduate assistant for one season at UNLV. He then was an assistant coach at Claremont High School and Chaffey College. He returned to UNLV in 1994 and spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach for the Rebels.
While an assistant coach at UNLV, the Rebels made two NCAA tournament appearances, played in five National Invitation Tournaments, won two regular-season conference titles and two conference tournament titles.
Dave and his wife, Mindy have two sons, Travis (18) and Dylan (13). At UNLV he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1991 and master’s degree in business administration in 1993. Rice was a Rhodes Scholar candidate while earning his bachelor’s degree.