Rebels getting Rice at bargain price

In landing his dream job, UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice said it was never about the money. That was the truth, because he did not exactly hit the lottery.

Rice’s three-year contract will pay $400,000 per year plus incentives and place him among the lowest-paid head coaches in the Mountain West Conference.

According to terms of the contract, which is on the Nevada Board of Regents meeting agenda for June 16 and 17, Rice will make a $200,000 base salary, $150,000 for media and public appearances and $50,000 for a shoe and apparel deal.

In terms of incentives, Rice can earn $25,000 if the Rebels qualify for the NCAA Tournament, and he would get $25,000 for each NCAA Tournament win. He would also get a $150,000 completion bonus at the end of three years.

By comparison, his predecessor at UNLV, Lon Kruger, did hit the lottery. Kruger resigned April 1 after seven seasons to accept a seven-year, $16.6 million contract at Oklahoma.

Around the Mountain West, New Mexico coach Steve Alford signed a contract extension in 2010 that paid him more than $1.1 million last year. Larry Shyatt was recently hired at Wyoming and signed a five-year deal that will pay at least $645,000, including incentives.

But Rice, formerly Brigham Young’s associate head coach, is a first-time head coach, and UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood is working under budget restrictions.

Stacey Augmon is set to be the Rebels’ highest-paid assistant coach with a base salary of $212,000. Augmon spent the past four years in the NBA as a Denver Nuggets assistant for player development.

UNLV assistants Justin Hutson and Heath Schroyer are set to earn $175,000 and $150,000, respectively. Hutson, the Rebels’ associate head coach, was hired from San Diego State. Schroyer was fired in February as Wyoming’s coach.

All assistants have one-year contracts, and each can earn a bonus of one month’s salary if the team qualifies for the NCAA Tournament.

The combined annual base salaries for the three assistant coaches and director of basketball operations Kreigh Warkentien are set to increase by $139,000 over this past season. But the total annual compensation for Rice and his staff amounts to a net reduction of more than $470,000.

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907.

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