By Derek Gonzales
Just as we thought the dust had settled and the coaching carousel had run its course through Las Cruces as it comes to rumors around NMSU head basketball coach Marvin Menzies, another situation has surfaced and it appears this one poses the biggest threat to the Aggie Basketball program losing its head coach since Menzies arrived on campus in 2007.
Menzies has been linked to jobs in the past at schools such as Arizona State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UNLV, and Washington State. Though he has not left to this point, his sustained success at NMSU has made him a commodity to high-profile programs. He is 198-111 in nine seasons, and has led NMSU to the postseason six times. His teams have been highly unimpressive against quality competition, going 3-15 against New Mexico and 0-16 against Power 5 Schools. His best win outside of beating New Mexico or UTEP while he’s been in Las Cruces was against Pacific in 2013.
It is being reported that since Texas Tech lost head coach Tubby Smith to the University of Memphis, the Red Raiders are looking at Chris Beard (though he has only been at UNLV six days) to be their next head coach. Beard was able to get the job after a 28-5 season at Arkansas-Little Rock, which was his first at the school. UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy chose Beard over Menzies, but now it appears UNLV might lose Beard.
Beard was an assistant coach at Texas Tech for 10 seasons (2001-2011). He coached under Bobby Knight, and was a part of the coaching staff that led Tech to four NCAA Tournament appearances during that time. As of Thursday night, Beard had met with Texas Tech officials about the opening and Kunzer-Murphy issued a statement confirming the meeting and adding that she looks to have the situation resolved in the next 24 hours, according to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas–Review Journal.
If Beard were to bolt for Lubbock, UNLV would be sure to give Marvin Menzies another call to see if he is still interested in UNLV. Menzies was an assistant under Lon Kruger for the Runnin’ Rebels during the 2004-2005 season, and has familiarity facing Mountain West schools. His 1-11 in 12 games against Mountain West opponents would cause Rebel fans to cringe, but the upgrades in facilities and a larger recruiting budget would help Menzies bring in players that will help him build a sustainable program.
It is a real uncertain time for the Aggie basketball program. With Pascal Siakam entering the national scene, testing the NBA waters, and the team bringing back all of the key contributors from a year ago, it looks to be only a matter of time until a program with more money, more fan support, and stability in a conference comes knocking on Menzies’ door. If it happens this weekend, Aggie fans can only be grateful we were able to keep him almost a decade and can look forward to turning the page after an amazing chapter in Aggie basketball history.
Derek Gonzales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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