Marvin Menzies’ Departure to UNLV a Blessing in Disguise for NMSU Fans
After nine seasons, 198 wins, and five trips to the NCAA Tournament, NMSU Aggie fans were ready for change. Head Coach Marvin Menzies had guided the program to the third most wins in NMSU history, but his act had worn thin in Las Cruces. Aggies diehards were tired of the program not elevating to a higher level over Menzies' tenure and did not care for his style of basketball. NMSU was able to dominate the WAC during many of his years with the program, but his teams either made first round exits from the NCAA Tournament or failed to consistently beat ranked opponents when matched up in non-conference games.
Over the weekend, Coach Menzies did a big favor for NMSU fans everywhere; he left his coaching position to take the same job at UNLV. The Rebels head coaching vacancy became available once Chris Beard decided to leave his post at UNLV just weeks after accepting the job. Menzies was a finalist for the UNLV head coaching position before Beard was hired, and the school wasted no time to grab the longtime NMSU coach when the opportunity arose again. Menzies verbally accepted the offer from UNLV and it is now awaiting approval by the school's Board of Regents.
NMSU fans can now breathe a big sigh of relief that their prayers have been answered. Although he will always be remembered as one of the most successful college basketball coaches in school history, the timing was right for a change. Fans had grown tired of Menzies' act at NMSU and there was little more he could do as head coach other than win big games other than the UTEP rivalry (something that never seemed possible). Menzies to UNLV is a win-win for everyone involved.
What's next for NMSU? The leading candidate for the job is Paul Weir, who has been with the program for 10 seasons and Associate Head Coach since July 2011. Prior to joining the Aggies, Weir was the Director of Basketball Operations for Iowa. Other names that have surfaced include Reggie Theus and Billy Gillispie. Theus coached the Aggies for two seasons before leaving the school for an NBA head coaching position with Sacramento. He is currently at Cal-Northridge, but his program self imposed a postseason ban during an investigation by the NCAA for alleged academic fraud violations.
Gillispie finished his first season at Ranger Junior College and he took the team to the NJCAA Final Four. His most recent Division 1 coaching stop was at Texas Tech, but he resigned in September 2012 citing health reasons. UTEP fans would dread seeing Gillispie back at the Don Haskins Center coaching the Aggies against the Miners in the Battle of I-10.
Another name that NMSU should at least reach out to is George Karl. The coach with the fifth most wins in NBA history expressed interest in the UNLV job and reportedly wanted just $500k a year to coach there. Moccia should try and contact Karl to at least gauge his interest in coaching at NMSU.