Twelve days after firing Mike Anderson, the University of Arkansas has its next head basketball coach, and he has a clear directive from his new boss — build a nationally competitive program.
Eric Musselman, who spent the past four years as head coach at the University of Nevada, has agreed to a five-year, $12.5 million deal to coach the Razorbacks. The UA made the official announcement Sunday afternoon (April 7).
Musselman will be officially introduced at a news conference Monday (April 8) at 3 p.m. inside Bud Walton Arena. The public is invited to attend.
“Eric Musselman is a coach that has had experience at every level of basketball from the NCAA to the NBA,” UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “He was practically born into the game and his passion for basketball is unmistakable. He has been successful throughout his career, including the remarkable job he did in returning the University of Nevada into a perennial NCAA Tournament team.”
Musselman won at least 24 games each season (24, 28, 29 and 29) at Nevada to post a 110-34 record and .764 winning percentage. Prior to entering the collegiate head coaching ranks, Musselman was a head coach for seven professional teams, including two seasons with the Golden State Warriors (2002-04) and one with the Sacramento Kings (2006-07). He has won over 550 games as a professional head coach with an overall winning percentage of .624 (566-340).
“Coach Musselman is high-energy and possesses an extremely high basketball IQ,” Yurachek said. “He has a great attention to detail and has structured his programs to develop players individually while building a successful team. I am pleased to welcome Coach Musselman, his wife Danyelle and his family to the Razorback family.”
At Nevada, Musselman led the Wolf Pack to Mountain West regular season titles in each of the past three years. The Wolf Pack won the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) postseason tournament in his first year as head coach while adding a Mountain West tournament title in 2017 to secure the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. The past two seasons, Nevada earned at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament as a seventh seed each time.
“The opportunity to be a part of the rich tradition of Razorback Basketball and to experience the passion of the Razorback fans is something that I am very much looking forward to,” Musselman said. “I am appreciative of the professional manner in which Hunter Yurachek conducted the search and am grateful for the support of Chancellor Steinmetz and all of those affiliated with the University of Arkansas. I am ready to get to work with our student-athletes to prepare our program to compete at the highest level of college basketball.”
The UA will also pay Musselman’s $1 million buyout to Nevada. Musselman’s buyout at the UA — should he leave before April 30, 2021— would be $5 million. That amount drops to $1.5 million on the same date in 2022 and $1 million in 2024.
Musselman’s initial contract also includes a $250,000 bonus the first time the Hogs reach the NCAA Tournament’s regional seminal found. Musselman will earn a $350,000 bonus the first time the Hogs reach the Final Four, and $500,000 for winning the national championship.