UNLV approves $3.75 million contract for Marvin Menzies

LAS VEGAS (AP) Marvin Menzies knows he was not UNLV's first choice as men's basketball coach and he doesn't mind.

He's the Runnin' Rebels' leader now and has some catching up to do.

UNLV's board of regents voted 12-1 to approve a five-year, $3.75 million deal for Menzies on Friday, ending a strange couple of weeks in Las Vegas.

''I'm not new to rejection, so it wasn't anything that was going to be life-threatening,'' Menzies said. ''I think we're good to go; we've just got to get to work.''

UNLV thought it had a replacement for Dave Rice when it hired former Arkansas-Little Rock coach Chris Beard.

His tenure didn't last long; Beard was gone less than a week after having his contract approved, bolting for Texas Tech, where he had been an assistant for 10 years.

That left UNLV in an awkward position and the school moved quickly to land Menzies, agreeing to a contract the day after Beard left.

Menzies had already interviewed for the job and previously worked at the school, so it was an easy decision.

''Clearly this has been a marathon, not a sprint,'' UNLV President Len Jessup said. ''But, ultimately, we've achieved our goal, hiring a great basketball coach.''

Menzies, 54, spent the past nine seasons at New Mexico State, leading the Aggies to four straight WAC tournament titles and NCAA Tournament berths from 2012-15. New Mexico State also played in the NCAA Tournament in 2010.

New Mexico State won the WAC regular-season title after going 13-1 last season, but ended up in the National Invitation Tournament after failing to win the conference tournament.

Menzies went 198-111 at New Mexico State, including 103-37 in conference games. He spent the 2004-05 season with Lon Kruger at UNLV and also served as an assistant to Louisville's Rick Pitino, USC's Henry Bibby and San Diego State's Steve Fisher.

Menzies announced the first hire for his staff, Providence associate head coach Andre LaFleur, and promised to get the Rebels out Runnin' like his early New Mexico State teams did.

''If you could visualize how (Louisville) plays in terms of pressing and making teams uncomfortable defensively and getting out and running the way we did our first few years at New Mexico State, that's who we're going to be,'' Menzies said. ''We're going to be the Runnin' Rebels. We're not going to walk it up the floor.''

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