Coaching mentors applaud UNLV’s hiring of Marvin Menzies

Marvin Menzies has produced a string of winning teams at New Mexico State, but as is typically the case with successful head coaches, he learned from some of the best as an assistant.

Menzies, who was announced Saturday as UNLV’s next basketball coach, has worked under some of the nation’s top coaches. His hire won’t become official until the University of Nevada Board of Regents approve his contract, which could be at Friday’s meeting.

San Diego State’s Steve Fisher hired Menzies in 1999 out of Santa Monica (California) College, and he was on the Aztecs’ staff for four seasons.

“Marvin is a great choice by UNLV to lead its men’s basketball program,” Fisher said. “He brings a wealth of experience, including his familiarity with UNLV. He has a great resume of success as a head coach, has had the opportunity to work as an assistant under Lon Kruger and Rick Pitino, and has a recruiting base that is second to none.

“We had the privilege of having Marvin on our initial staff at San Diego State, and he was fantastic.”

After San Diego State, Menzies spent a year at Southern California before joining the Rebels for the 2004-05 season under Kruger.

“Marvin’s done a terrific job at New Mexico State — the basketball part to it, the relationship with the players, recruiting, very, very good ambassador,” said Kruger, now Oklahoma’s coach. “I think this is fantastic, and he’ll do a terrific job.

“He’s a very good coach on the floor. He’s recruited really well. That combination, I think, is why he’s successful there at New Mexico State.”

The Aggies have won five consecutive Western Athletic Conference regular-season or tournament titles under Menzies, and they have been to five NCAA Tournaments in his nine seasons. He went 198-111 at New Mexico State.

Before getting that job, Menzies coached under Pitino at Louisville from 2005 to 2007.

“Marvin has a dynamic personality and is an outstanding recruiter and teacher of the game,” Pitino said. “He’s exactly what UNLV needs now in terms of being able to attract outstanding talent and field a competitive team, as they have a depleted roster at the present time.”

Maybe not for long. ESPN reported that Dwayne Morgan is thinking about staying at UNLV rather than transferring as he had planned. A source also said Menzies will meet with players Monday, and at least one other Rebel might stay.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65

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