T.J. Otzelberger leaves UNLV for Iowa State

UNLV Sports

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 26: Head coach T.J. Otzelberger of the UNLV Rebels talks to Devin Tillis #30 during their game against the Fresno State Bulldogs at the Thomas & Mack Center on February 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sam Morris/Getty Images)


Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois confirmed Thursday that T.J. Otzelberger has resigned as head coach of the UNLV men’s basketball program to accept the head coach position at Iowa State. Otzelberger returns to Ames where he has spent eight years as an assistant coach.

“When our coaches are being pursued by others, it is a testament to what we are building,” said Reed-Francois. “We appreciate Coach Otzelberger’s contributions to our men’s basketball program and we wish T.J. and his family all the best as they continue their journey.”

Otzelberger spent eight years with the Cyclones where he met his wife, Alison, the highest WNBA draft pick in Iowa State history. After two seasons at Washington from 2013-15, Otzelberger returned to Iowa State for one season before making his head coaching debut at South Dakota State in 2016.

“I want to thank our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans for a memorable two years at UNLV and in the Las Vegas community,” Otzelberger said. “I especially want to thank Desiree Reed-Francois for providing me with the incredible honor of leading the Runnin’ Rebels. These decisions are never easy, but Alison and I are excited to return to Iowa State where we started our family and spent so many formative years.”

In Otzelberger’s two years with the Runnin’ Rebels, UNLV secured strong recruiting classes and during the 2019-20 campaign, he guided the team to a tie for second place in the Mountain West, marking the program’s best league finish in 12 years. The men’s basketball program also achieved record academic success with Otzelberger at the helm, as the Runnin’ Rebels turned in a semester Grade Point Average of 3.57 for Fall 2020, the program’s highest ever. It marked the third-straight record-setting semester GPA for the team. A national search for Otzelberger’s replacement will commence immediately

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