After four seasons at Nevada, Eric Musselman has decided to move on and take the head coaching job at Arkansas, replacing Mike Anderson, who was let go earlier this offseason.
Musselman has a very long coaching resume, which includes short stints as the head coach of both the Warriors and the Kings in the NBA and then as an assistant at both the NBA and college level, while also being a head coach in the then D-League (now the G-League).
As a head coach in college basketball, Musselman has only been a head coach for four seasons, all at Nevada, and he was very successful. He took over a Nevada program that was just 9-22 in the season before his arrival and immediately the Wolfpack began to see dividends.
In his first season in Reno, Musselman turned the Wolfpack around all the way to 24-14 and the team won a CBI title. The very next season Nevada made their way to the NCAA Tournament, finishing the season with a 28-7 record after losing in the first round as a 12 seed.
His third season in Reno is really what put Nevada and Eric Musselman on the map. After a 26-6 regular season, the Wolfpack went on to be a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat 10th seeded Texas, 87-83 in the first round and then went on to upset 2nd seeded Cincinnati, 75-73 in the second round, before losing to Loyola (Chicago), 69-68 in the Sweet Sixteen.
The 2017-18 season also saw Nevada get ranked for the first time since the 2006-07 season and with a very experienced team coming back, Nevada was ranked 7th to start the season this season.
The Wolfpack this season went 29-5, but it did look like at times that they struggled with being the team that was coming into the season with a lot of hype instead of being the team trying to surprise teams. Ultimately, they lost to Florida in the first round of this years tournament, 70-61.
Musselman was able to make a haul in the transfer market while at Nevada, bringing in Caleb and Cody Martin from NC State, Jordan Caroline from Southern Illinois and Jazz Johnson from Portland. On top of that though, he was responsible for signing Jordan Brown, who was only the second five-star recruit in program history (Luke Babbit).
He will certainly have some building to do at Arkansas as the Razorbacks have the lowest-ranked recruiting class in the SEC for this recruiting cycle, according to 247 Sports, and star Daniel Gafford is leaving early for the NBA.
I would expect Musselman to hit the transfer market right away while he tries to build the base of the program over the next two seasons in recruiting, which is usually what it takes to start seeing a big turnaround in a basketball program.
We have seen Arkansas be good recently so it can definitely be done in Fayetteville and frankly they weren’t terrible this season, things had just seemed to run stale with Mike Anderson, and now they are bringing in a coach with a ton of coaching experience, albeit fairly limited as a head coach in college, and someone who went 110-34 in four seasons at a school that was 9-22 the season prior to his arrival.
Top Photo of Eric Musselman, courtesy of: John Byrne/Nevada Athletics