Tarkanian: Dave Rice is a hard worker who deserves support

Dave Rice

UNLV assistant coach Dave Rice yells to Rebel players as they take on Georgetown at the Thomas & Mack Center Sunday, November 28, 1999. The Rebels defeated the Hoyas 85-69. Launch slideshow »

Whenever I would attend a game or practice over the years where Dave Rice was coaching, he would always make it a point to come over and talk to me.

He’s just a quality guy. He never hesitated going out of his way to acknowledge me, and always let me know how much he respected me.

Nobody has seen him before as a head coach, so I don’t think it would be fair to say how he’ll be as UNLV’s basketball coach. I can tell you he’s a smart guy and a hard worker. He’ll put in the time for that program to be successful.

I called Dave today to congratulate him and I will be at the press conference tomorrow to support him. He’s a Rebel and deserves my support.

Even though I wanted Reggie Theus to get the job, Dave still called me during the interview process to talk. He didn’t ask for my support, he just wanted to let me know how much he appreciated everything I did for him.

That shows what type of man Dave Rice is. There were no bad feelings about me supporting Reggie.

Reggie interviewed when Lon Kruger got the job seven years ago and they told him he needed to get more experience. So, Reggie went and coached in the NBA, and led New Mexico State to the tournament. I thought they were grooming him for the job. It would have been a slam-dunk hire.

But at least they picked a Rebel. He’s going to try to bring back some of the old traditions.

Dave said he wants to play the same style we did. He wants to push the ball up the court and play some pressure defense.

Dave knows this is a very elite job — a job several elite coaches wanted. It is one of the top 10 or 15 jobs in the country.

They have great facilities that will only get better when construction is finished on the practice facility. There is also great support from the fans and administration.

I’ll be one of the ones there tomorrow showing my support.

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