LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - UNLV announced T.J. Otzelberger as the new head coach for men's basketball Wednesday.
UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois announced the hire. Otzelberger had coached the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits for the past three seasons, which included two trips to the NCAA tournament and another to the NIT.
“When I set out to find the next coach of our Runnin’ Rebels ... I sought a hard-working, laser-focused head coach who personifies our core values; who knows what success looks like; who is passionately committed to winning; and who is at ease with being the face of our storied basketball program. T.J. exemplifies these attributes. I am confident he is the right coach to bring the Runnin’ Rebels into a new era of preeminence and we welcome T.J., Alison, Jayce, Olivia, and Stella to the UNLV Family," Reed-Francois said.
Otzelberger lead the Jackrabbits to a 70-33 record, two outright regular season Summit League titles and the league's Coach of the Year honor. Prior to that, he served as an assistant at Iowa State and at the University of Washington.
“I have been fortunate to coach at some amazing universities and it was going to take a very special opportunity to leave Brookings,” Otzelberger said. “UNLV basketball is one of the most storied programs in the nation and situated in one of the world’s greatest cities. I’m honored to have the opportunity to add to the Runnin’ Rebels’ rich history and my family and I could not be more proud to be the newest members of this world-class university and Las Vegas community."
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native Otzelberger graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he played collegiately and was a two-year team captain.
“Coach Otzelberger is a rising star in coaching and a proven winner whose teams have performed at a high level, both academically and in competition,” UNLV President Marta Meana said. “I’m impressed by Coach Otzelberger’s immediate and long-term vision for the program and his commitment to player development at all levels. Runnin’ Rebel basketball has a rich history and a very bright future, and we look forward to welcoming Coach Otzelberger and his family to UNLV.”
The university fired head coach Marvin Menzies on March 15 after a 17-14 season.