rebels basketball:

Findlay Prep’s Todd Simon pegged to join UNLV staff

The Pilots went 193-9 with Simon on staff, including helping produce Rebels Anthony Bennett and Christian Wood

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Findlay Prep basketball coach Todd Simon works with his players Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012.

Updated Monday, July 1, 2013 | 10:20 p.m.

Todd Simon

Findlay Prep basketball coach Todd Simon works with his players Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. Launch slideshow »

UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice didn’t have to look far for an assistant coach to fill out his staff.

Todd Simon, the head coach at national high school powerhouse Findlay Prep in Henderson, is returning to UNLV to take the position vacated when Justin Huston left in April for San Diego State.

Simon spent two years as the Rebels’ video coordinator under Lon Kruger before leaving in 2006 for Findlay Prep.

Over the past six years at Findlay Prep, the Pilots have a 193-9 record, finishing 35-1 last season after losing in the semifinals ESPN National High School Invitational. The setback snapped a 54-game winning streak.

"He brings head coaching experience and tremendous success at the prep school level," Rice said in a statement. "Coach Simon has a strong background at UNLV having been part of Lon Kruger's staff for two seasons, while working towards his master’s degree. Todd has a tremendous work ethic and will be terrific complement to our staff in all areas.”

Simon was Findlay Prep’s assistant coach until last season when Mike Peck left for an position in the NBA D-League. Simon, however, was more than an assistant — he was Peck’s right hand man and instrumental in helping attract the world’s top high school players to Henderson. They won three ESPN National High School championship in the past five years, finishing in the top-5 of every major ranking.

The program has produced seven McDonald’s All-Americans over the past four years, including former Rebel Anthony Bennett. Bennett, of course, was the first pick in last week's NBA Draft — the second former Findlay player taken in the lottery and fifth overall to be selected.

Each Findlay player advances to college basketball, and most to high-level programs. Findlay proudly boosts that each players is a Division-I qualifier, which is something Simon, who in 2010 received his Master’s Degree from UNLV, had a direct hand in.

Leaving Findlay Prep was a decision that wasn't easy for Simon. But after much debate, rejoining the UNLV program was a no-brainer.

"UNLV’s success under Coach Rice over the past two seasons is well respected on a national scale," Simon said in a statement. "Being part of a university that I graduated from, working in a city I have a passion for, and in a role of helping develop student-athletes is a tremendous opportunity.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. This is an excellent hire especially considering that he's going to be the #3 assistant.

  2. I was concerned when Huston left, but this is a very solid replacement. Great job by Rice maintaining a solid staff!

  3. @Tarkus (Terry May) - I'm glad that Hutson left because it was apparent that he didn't want to be here.

  4. I was hoping the new hire would be an experienced D-1 coach who could help Rice grow with in game adjustments. Since Rice is still a relatively new coach it is not unexpected that he is not on a par at making these adjustments like the top coaches in the Mountain West. Recruiting is not a problem with this staff as they are excellent at it. X and O adjustments are the glaring weaknesses. If Rice does listen to his coaches (which I am not sure he does)then he must listen mostly to Heath Shroyer who was just a terrible head coach at Wyoming and the worst Wyoming had since Joby Wright.

  5. Have to agree with Casper, Rice needs help developing strategy, in-game adjustments, and advance scouting of opponents. Since I am unavailable I guess Schroyer will have to do, but it does seem that he lacks the "necessities" to be a good xs and os guy. We need the Dennis Hopper-character from Hoosiers. On second thought, Coach Rice, call me...

  6. Well now progress is taking shape , someone to whisper in Rices' ear when he's falling apart.

  7. Yeah that Dave Rice guy is clueless. I mean we have #1 draft choices, more McDonald All Americans coming to UNLV than ever, the Thomas and Mack's getting refurbished, I don't things could be brighter at UNLV. Fire him before we get to big.

  8. Could you imagine if UNLV ever had the #1 draft choice in football?
    My head just exploded!!!

  9. @ranchhand (Patrick Jenkins) - I'd be happy if we had a 1st round pick in football.

  10. Gang: UNLV just sent out a statement making Simon's hire official. I've updated the story with comments. Talked with Todd earlier tonight. He's thrilled to be back at UNLV and confident the program will reach new heights. Tough leaving Findlay -- he worked nearly 11 hours today and hopes they hire someone from within to takeover.

  11. I wish his hiring were bundled with Nigel Williams Goss playing for the Rebels as part of the deal. That kid is going to be a top 5 pick in the next draft. Zero doubt about that.

  12. Kudos for hiring an Alum and he certainly brings some great skills to the coaching staff. However, we need some experienced college level coaches....not high school level coaches.