Rice staying with UNLV after receiving two-year extension - 8 News NOW

Rice staying with UNLV after receiving two-year extension

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LAS VEGAS -- UNLV head coach Dave Rice is not going anywhere after all.

Rice received a contract extension to remain at UNLV through the 2018-19 season, the university announced Saturday. No monetary terms were released.

The extension adds two years to Rice's current deal, which was set to run out after the 2016-17 season. The contract still has to be officially approved by the Board of Regents, but that would appear to be a formality at this point.

The extension came about after Rice was offered a job to coach the University of South Florida on Friday.

Although Rice confirmed Friday night that he had been offered the South Florida job, sources told ESPN on Saturday that the coach did not have an "official offer" from USF. However, ESPN said there was an understanding he could have the job.

Rice met with USF representatives Friday before flying back to Las Vegas to negotiate with UNLV administrators.

"I am excited about the future of our men's basketball program at UNLV and appreciate the confidence that the administration has in the direction we are headed," Rice said in a press release. "Our staff has done a good job of assembling next season's team. We are looking forward to coaching the returning players as well as the newcomers."

After the news broke of Rice potentially leaving, that set up an emergency meeting Friday night between Rice and UNLV Athletic Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy. 

After that meeting, Kunzer-Murphy met with Don Snyder, UNLV's acting president, on Saturday to discuss the contract extension and raise for Rice.

Reports say Rice was offered between $1.2 million to $1.4 million per year for five seasons to go to USF. Before the extension, Rice's contract at UNLV has three years remaining at $700,000 per year.

Rice, who just completed his third year with the Rebels, is 70-31 with two NCAA Tournament appearances.

Rice, a 45-year-old UNLV graduate, led the team to a 20-13 record this season, missing the postseason for the first time in his tenure.

However, the future looks bright for UNLV as the school has commitments from three elite recruits -- Rashad Vaughn, Goodluck Okonoboh and Dwayne Morgan.

This recruiting class would have been a key reason UNLV was willing to increase Rice's salary to keep him and the incoming freshmen intact.

Sources indicated Rice was contacted by South Florida officials soon after the school rescinded an offer to Manhattan's Steve Masiello, whose deal fell through after he failed a background check. South Florida officials met with Rice during the coach's last recruiting trip Friday.

"South Florida called me and asked permission to talk to him which we granted. David and I and his family met and like I told everybody and I told David we don't want to lose him." Kunzer-Murphy said Friday.

If Kunzer-Murphy wasn't able to reach an agreement with Rice, UNLV would have had some top candidates to choose from to take over. Two of the names probably will be former UCLA coach Ben Howland Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus, a former Rebels standout who was bypassed when the school picked Rice after Lon Kruger left for Oklahoma.

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