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Deals for Dave Rice, staff provide UNLV athletic department financial relief

Combined, Rebels’ four basketball coaches will command less than $1 million in 2011-12

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Leila Navidi

UNLV president Neal Smatresk speaks to basketball coach Dave Rice before a town hall meeting regarding budget cuts at UNLV Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

The financially strapped UNLV athletic department not only got its top target this spring as its new men’s basketball coach, but it also didn’t have to break the scarlet and gray piggy bank to do so.

A copy of Dave Rice’s contract, which was approved in June by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, shows that Rice signed a three-year deal on May 4. He’ll pull in an annual salary of $400,000, which is a healthy wage for a first-time head coach, but also provides relief for a department looking left and right for areas to trim within its budget.

The contract includes a base salary of $200,000 and $150,000 each season for media and public appearances. It is rounded off with $50,000 annually from the program’s shoe and apparel contract.

If Rice finishes out the deal, he stands to earn a $150,000 bonus at the end of the 2013-14 season. The included performance bonuses are $25,000 for a berth in the NCAA tournament and another $25,000 for each NCAA tourney victory.

Added incentives include dealership loan cars for Rice and his wife, Mindy, plus a country club membership with an annual $15,000 host account to use for business purposes only.

Rice’s deal left ample space in the budget for him to piece together his staff of choice.

Assistant coaches do not have contracts, but instead have Employment Documents. According to those, which were included on the agenda at that June meeting, associate head coach Justin Hutson will make $175,000 this season, while Stacey Augmon will make $212,000 — a number competitive with his salary as an NBA assistant coach for the past four years — and Heath Schroyer will make $150,000.

Combined, the four coaches on UNLV’s bench this season will be paid $937,000. It’s a modest number in comparison to the $1.1 million that Lon Kruger was scheduled to make in 2011-12. His deal at UNLV was set to expire following the 2012-13 season.

With a quick look at his résumé over seven seasons at UNLV and his integral role in resurrecting the dormant program, no one can say that Kruger didn’t earn that salary.

That number, instead, is a look at what being a proven commodity can earn a coach in an age when seven-figure salaries are quickly becoming the norm for coaches at major — and even many mid-major — programs. He was lured to Oklahoma by a deal worth $16 million over seven years.

As part of the termination of Kruger’s contract with UNLV, Oklahoma had to cut a check for a $500,000 buyout from his UNLV pact. Those funds were applied to helping UNLV balance its books earlier this month at the end of the 2011 fiscal year.

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  1. I think Rice and Staff will earn every penny this year. Hopefully this will put some people to rest on complaining about having too much money go to sports. But then again, they will have other things to complain about.

  2. I would be really shocked if Hutson was here for longer then two years. He's got head coach written all over him. He took this job as a way to get a head coaching job in the near future. If he follows through on some of the good recruiting vibe he's already established here, I am sure a mid-major west coast school would take a flyer on him in another few years. Same goes for Schroyer. However, I do see Augmon staying here awhile, forming a good tag team with Rice.

  3. I commend Rice and his staff for recognizing just how cash-strapped UNLV is and being willing to take salaries at far less than what their counterparts at other universities are making. I hope this buys them some good Karma with the gods of college basketball.

  4. Rice is paid less than the average football player at Ohio St. or USC.

    Rice should get a huge bonus if he lands Shabazz! :0