After much speculation — and a disappointing end to the season yesterday in the Mountain West Conference tournament, UNLV has parted ways with head coach Marvin Menzies, firing the much-maligned coach after just three seasons.
Menzies posted a career 48-48 record at UNLV and was let go this morning by athletic director Dr. Denise Reed-Francois. The move sent shockwaves throughout Las Vegas. Speculation about his job security ran rampant all season, especially after attendance dipped to its lowest since the Rollie Massimino era.
“If I’m not confident in where we’re headed, we need to make a change,” UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said in her press conference.
Menzies was hired in 2016 after former coach Dave Rice was fired mid-season. The hiring followed a circus in arguably the most embarrassing moment in UNLV basketball history. Rice was fired midseason, UNLV was leveraged by Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin before the Rebels hired Chris Beard, who dipped for Texas Tech after running all but a few players off.
Menzies was brought in by former athletic director Tina Kuntzer-Murphy to bring back stability and hopefully get UNLV back to the NCAA Tournament for first time since 2013. He was also the first full-time African American coach to lead the program.
“I want someone who knows what success looks like,” Reed-Francois said. “Someone who is relentlessly committed. Basketball is in their blood. Figuring out how to run this program and be a part of this community.”
Fans took to social media to celebrate or pout, or gloat…
— 🅹🅰🆂🅾🅽 🆅🅸🅶🅸🅻 (@jasonvigil88) March 15, 2019
Thank you to the UNLV administration for listening to the vast majority of the #unlvmbb fans and moving on from a coach that never could have gotten us to where we need to be. We can now officially retire the #FireMenzies hashtag! Time to move on from the 3 years of irrelevance!
— Gil Mongan-Tichenor (@MisterVegas1957) March 15, 2019
What do you think of your coach Menzies now?!! I have said all year he is a joke and was worthless. He basically stole 2 million to set us back 30 years. Not one US recruit is appalling. Smaller schools with less money have better players and play better BB
— Brian W. (@brianbaja) March 16, 2019
Regardless of anything else, UNLV owes a debt of gratitude to @MarvinMenzies and his staff for taking a job under very difficult circumstances, Brought in great kids and put the program in position for future success. Wish all happiness & great times ahead. @TheRunninRebels
— Jon Sandler (@JonSandler3) March 16, 2019
Thank you Marvin Menzies for your time and effort at UNLV. You were one of the only coaches that raised their hand and wanted this job at its lowest point in program history. Thank you for bringing some outstanding young men into this program. UNLV wishes you the best.
— Alex Pereszlenyi (@AlexPereszlenyi) March 15, 2019
@MarvinMenzies Thank you for being the UNLV Men's Basketball head coach. Keep up the great work in teaching young minds both in life and in basketball. May you find bigger and greener pastures ahead of you. 🙂
— Shawn Smallman (@charonbond) March 16, 2019
Even rival fans took note, even if for all the wrong reasons.
Hearing that Marvin Menzies is out at UNLV after 3 seasons but really 2 considering he took over a program with 2 scholarship players. But it's good news for SDSU and the rest of the Mountain West. The more impatience and instability at the most resourced program, the better.
— Mark Zeigler (@sdutzeigler) March 15, 2019
To replace Marvin Menzies, UNLV will begin a national search using Folger Consulting. Front runners for the job are led by former Ohio State coach Thad Matta, who unconfirmed rumors have as already sitting on an offer from UNLV, former NBA all-star Jason Kidd, Mike Miller and Fred Hoiberg.
Reed-Francois said UNLV has funding in place to make the next guy the highest-paid coach in the Mountain West. She also made it a point to thank Menzies for his time at UNLV.
“I want to thank Coach Menzies for calming the waters and building a strong foundation for our men’s basketball program over the past three years,” Reed-Francois said. “A change of this significance impacts many good people. It was not taken lightly. Ultimately, after a thoughtful and methodical review, I felt a new direction was necessary for the long term, best interests of the program and our athletics department. We wish Coach Menzies and his family all the best as their journey continues.”