UNLV nears two-year extension for Rice

UNLV nears two-year extension for Rice

<p>UNLV is closing in on a two-year extension for men's basketball coach Dave Rice amid reports he had an offer on the table from South Florida.</p>

Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - UNLV is closing in on a two-year extension for men's basketball coach Dave Rice amid reports he had an offer on the table from South Florida.

UNLV said Saturday it will recommend an extension of Rice's contract through the 2018-19 season.

The proposal, which includes an incentive package to pay Rice more money based on academic and athletic success, will be presented at the next meeting of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents.

The school said UNLV president Donald Snyder will recommend the meeting be held "at the earliest opportunity" -- highlighting the school's desire to get a deal done soon.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday that Rice, who is making $700,000 a year at UNLV, had a six-year offer from South Florida worth $1.3 million per year.

"I am excited about the future of our men's basketball program at UNLV and appreciate the confidence that the administration has in the direction we are headed," Rice said in a statement.

"Our staff has done a good job of assembling next season's team. We are looking forward to coaching the returning players as well as the newcomers."

The Runnin' Rebels have won at least 20 games in each of Rice's three seasons since he was hired in April 2011.

They made the NCAA Tournament his first two years and were 20-13 this season, losing to San Diego State in the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament.

"I have great respect for coach Rice and the job that he has done at UNLV," Snyder said in a statement. "The extension that we are proposing will provide a great opportunity for our program going forward.

"We are proud of the high standard of success that the Runnin' Rebels have shown under coach Rice not only on the court, but also in the classroom and with graduating student-athletes. While there were some disappointments this past season, I am excited about the future of the program under Dave's leadership."

Rice has a 71-32 record at UNLV -- more wins in his first three seasons than any Runnin' Rebels coach except Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Tarkanian.

South Florida is searching for a head coach after firing Stan Heath on March 14. The school rescinded an offer to Manhattan's Steve Masiello on Wednesday after it found he falsely claimed on his resume he graduated from Kentucky.

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