When Lon Kruger accepted a 7-year, $16 million contract that abruptly lured him to Oklahoma after spending seven seasons as UNLV’s men’s basketball coach, he admitted money played a role in the decision. And the financial situation at UNLV may have indirectly helped create a shake-up for the city’s most beloved team. Kruger’s contract, which paid him $1.1 million annually, was set to expire following the 2012-13 season, and the financial crisis likely had a hand in his deal not getting extended sooner, though the proposed contract at Oklahoma would be tough for any coach in America to turn down. Kruger, 58, is getting a hefty raise and can set his family up financially for generations to come. UNLV will likely be able to pay whomever replaces Kruger a fair wage, but could try to keep it under the $1 million mark. The two lead candidates are BYU Associate Head Coach Dave Rice and Minnesota Timberwolves Assistant Coach Reggie Theus—a pair of former Rebels who haven’t kept it a secret that this is their dream job. That job, however, will come with dual pressures—of maintaining the level of institutional control Kruger established and keeping the program profitable while the university faces dramatic cuts. Oh yeah, and winning.
Wed, Apr 6, 2011 (2:10 p.m.)