Q: There were a lot of challenges when you first came back to UNLV. What is your philosophy in overcoming some of those challenges?
A: “There is an assessment of the program that has to occur before you can actually put a strategic plan in place. I had a big-picture vision of where I wanted this program to go when I started, but until you get on the daily grind you don’t know what all the specifics are. Now we are to a point where we have started that strategic planning process. Some has to do with staffing, some has to do with recruiting, some has to do
with marketing, branding, etc. There are a lot of moving parts to putting together a successful national program. We are further along in that process than we were a year ago, but we obviously still have a lot of things to do.•
Q: What type of person are you looking for in recruits?
A: ·we spend a lot of time doing our due diligence with recruiting. We are looking for student-athletes with
high character. Kids who want to be Runnin’ Rebels before becoming pros. Those who understand the value
of our brand and have the desire to give back to the University and community, even while they are here as players so that when they move on, they have developed a love for this institution and become contributing alumni. Our coaching staff has contacts throughout the entire country and internationally as well. Andre La Fleur has heavy ties to the East, having come from UConn and Providence, Rob Jeter knows the Midwest, coming from Milwaukee, and Eric Brown in the West at Long Beach State and USC. We have created a blueprint to be able to recruit anywhere in the nation as well as overseas, while understanding that our home base of Las Vegas will always be a priority. Keeping the best of the best here will always be a goal.•
Q: You were an assistant coach for Lon Kruger at UNLV during the 2004-05 season. What’s it like being back in Las Vegas?
A: “I love it! I love Las Vegas. I love the people and the sense of community. From the outside looking in, I don’t think people understand the landscape here when it comes to the community and the sense of pride that exists. I really appreciate the way people have welcomed and embraced myself and my family. That goes a long way because it is all about family, from my children to my wife. My entire family loves Las Vegas.”
Q: How has it been different recruiting for this year’s team with much more time than you had for your first UNLV team?
A: ·we have had a full year of recruiting. We experienced some early success which helped us with some other recruits down the line. We also were able to have our kids here all summer, which we didn’t have last year. We are hopeful that will be a huge benefit for us in terms of getting them acclimated to UNLV, getting them used to our system, etc. The team achieved a 3.24 GPA this summer, which I think speaks volumes to the types of kids that we are bringing in.”