Arkansas hired Nevada’s Eric Musselman on Sunday, hoping to get a once-proud program back to an elite level.
The 54-year-old Musselman led a dramatic turnaround in Reno, leading the Wolf Pack to three NCAA Tournaments in four years after a nine-year absence. Nevada reached the Sweet 16 in 2018, but lost in the first round to Florida this year.
“I am excited to officially announce the hiring of Eric Musselman as our new Head Coach for @RazorbackMBB,” athletic director Hunter Yurachek said on Twitter. “And to welcome his wife Danyelle, their daughter Mariah and sons, Matthew and Michael to the Arkansas Razorback Family. #OneRazorback.”
The son of a former coach, Musselman has had a well-traveled career. He coached the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors in the NBA, had stints in the CBA and D-League, and assistant jobs in the NBA and college.
Musselman went 110-34 at Nevada.
“These past four years at University of Nevada have been unforgettable,” he tweeted . “Thank you Northern Nevada and Wolf Pack nation!”
Musselman replaces Mike Anderson, who was fired last month after eight seasons. He went 169-102 and made five postseason tournaments — three trips to the NCAAs and two in the NIT — but Yurachek said it wasn’t good enough when he fired Anderson on March 26.
Arkansas went 18-16 this past season and reached the second round of the NIT. The Razorbacks’ season ended with a loss to Indiana.
Musselman takes over a team with plenty of experience, but star forward Daniel Gafford won’t be among them after declaring for the NBA draft. Gafford was the only player in the SEC in the top five in scoring (16.9 points per game) and rebounding (8.7 rpg) last season. In two years at Arkansas, he averaged 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds, shot 63.5% from the field and blocked 141 shots. The 6-foot-11 first-team all-SEC pick could have left last year but returned. Anderson said he believes Gafford will be a first-round draft pick.
Guard Isaiah Joe is expected to return after averaging 13.9 points and shooting 41.4% from 3-point range as a freshman. Mason Jones averaged 13.6 points this past season as a sophomore and another guard,