Lon Kruger left UNLV’s basketball program to take the head coaching job at Oklahoma last week, leaving the Rebels searching for a new head coach. Contrary to popular belief, the job is not available on craigslist, but rather one for which athletic director Jim Livengood is nailing down finalists. The two names most prominently mentioned in connection with the vacancy are Reggie Theus and Dave Rice. When reached by phone on Monday, former UNLV national championship coach Jerry Tarkanian told Larry Brown Sports he supports former players Theus and Larry Johnson for the job.
Coach Tarkanian told LBS he recommended Reggie Theus for several reasons, saying “He’s got a great personality and he can talk with anybody.” Tark added that Theus “has been a good head coach, and the people love him in Vegas.”
He also said he supported his former player Larry Johnson, who is considered the best UNLV player in the program’s history, for the job. Tark acknowledged that Johnson’s lack of head coaching experience hurts him in the search, but says he thinks Larry would do a great job because he’s such a good person. In an interview with LBS last month, Johnson told us he was interested in coaching.
Overall, Tarkanian said Lon Kruger did a real good job as head coach of the program.
No replacement has been named yet, but Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a hire could be made this week. Ryan Greene says that Theus and Livengood talked Sunday night but that Rice is the favorite to get the job.
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