Finally free to discuss his departure from the UNLV basketball coaching staff, Justin Hutson offered only complimentary parting shots.
It was reported Friday that Hutson, the Rebels’ associate head coach the past two seasons, was returning to be a San Diego State assistant.
Aztecs coach Steve Fisher formally announced the move Monday.
Hutson said any theories that he left UNLV coach Dave Rice’s side because he was disappointed in not playing a larger role are false.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Hutson said. “In my mind, there was nothing negative about UNLV at all. It was a real hard decision.”
Hutson called it a “family decision.” His wife, Ruth, wanted to return to San Diego, and he has a strong bond with Fisher. Hutson spent five seasons (2006-11) with the Aztecs as Fisher’s defensive coordinator and lead recruiter.
He did not jump at the first job opportunity that came his way. Hutson, who had a base salary of $175,000, said he turned down an offer to join the Washington staff in August and removed his name from consideration for an assistant’s job at Arizona early this month.
Hutson was the first assistant hired by Rice in April 2011. He was assigned the role of defensive coordinator but never was granted total control to run the defense. Still, that was not a factor in his decision to leave Rice’s staff, said Hutson, who called San Diego State a “special
With Hutson on the bench, the Rebels went 3-1 against the Aztecs.