USC hires Eric Musselman to be their new coach

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USC has hired Arkansas men’s head basketball coach Eric Musselman to lead its program, the school announced Thursday.
Once upon a time, the idea of a coach leaving the hoops hotbed of Arkansas for USC was borderline unthinkable, but these are different times.
The opportunity presented itself once Andy Enfield decided to leave USC after 11 seasons to start anew at SMU.
“My family and I couldn’t be more excited for this incredible opportunity at USC,” Musselman said in a statement.
“I am grateful to President Folt and Jen Cohen for the chance to lead the men’s basketball program at such a world-class university with a rich tradition of success.
“We were determined to find the best coach to champion the development of our student-athletes and elevate our men’s basketball program.
As we move to the Big Ten and enter a new chapter for USC Men’s Basketball, there is no better fit than Eric Musselman to launch our program to new heights.”
At USC, Musselman will face significantly less pressure at a program with significantly less prestige.

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Eric Musselman, the head basketball coach at Arkansas for men, has been appointed by USC to oversee the program, the university said on Thursday. According to people close to CBS Sports, which broke the initial news of Musselman’s hiring, he had an interview with Trojans athletic director Jennifer Cohen on Wednesday.

The Trojans’ decision to sign Musselman away from Arkansas is shocking. The thought of a coach moving from Arkansas, a basketball powerhouse, to USC was nearly unimaginable a few years ago, but those were different times. Events also play a significant role. In addition to the fresh start following a difficult 2023–24 season that ended with a whimper, Musselman was greatly influenced by the location. The chance arose when Andy Enfield chose to start over at SMU after leaving USC after 11 seasons.

Musselman released a statement saying, “My family and I couldn’t be more excited for this incredible opportunity at USC.”. “For the opportunity to oversee the men’s basketball program at a top-tier university with a distinguished history of accomplishment, I am appreciative to President Folt and Jen Cohen. Our dedication lies in supporting our student-athletes’ growth and maintaining the principles that define the Trojan Family. We’re going to jump right in and put in a ton of effort to make Los Angeles, our amazing alumni, and our fans proud. “.

Over his five seasons in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Musselman, now fifty-nine, led the Razorbacks to consecutive Elite Eight appearances in 2021 and 2022, as well as a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2023. It was the first time in 25 years that Arkansas had qualified for the Sweet 16 when the Hogs advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in 2021. Something significant had been restored by him there. But this past season was the lowest point; Musselman’s team underperformed terribly and finished with his only sub-par 16-17 record, even though they were ranked in the preseason. 500 people use the program.

Musselman went 111-59 over the previous five years, with four seasons with 20–28 victories. Prior to accepting the position at Arkansas in 2019, Musselman worked for Nevada for four seasons, compiling a 221-93 career record.

Over the previous two years, Musselman’s name had been tangentially linked to other positions, but this time a move materialized. He is a journeyman coach. Musselman has coached in the G League, semi-pro ball, overseas, the NBA (Golden State from 2002–04, Sacramento from 2006–07), and he has many years of experience as an assistant in both the NBA and D-I. As a coach for over thirty years, he has held over a dozen positions. His entire career has consisted of moving from one place to another. Before turning thirty, Musselman coached the Rapid City Thrillers in the Continental Basketball Association from 1991 to 1997, which was his longest tenure at one place. In his career, Arkansas constituted the second-longest tenure.

“Welcoming Eric, Danyelle, and their amazing family to USC fills me with immense excitement,” stated Cohen. “We were committed to elevating our men’s basketball program and supporting the growth of our student-athletes by hiring the top coach. His proven ability to create successful programs and his steadfast dedication to fostering an excellence-focused culture make him an ideal fit at USC. Eric exemplifies courage, boldness, fortitude, and all that it means to be a Trojan. He encourages unity and will contribute to the development and expansion of the Trojan community’s connection through the program. Eric Musselman is the ideal choice to lead USC Men’s Basketball into a new era and take the program to new heights as we transition to the Big Ten. “.”.

Musselman will be under much less pressure at USC, where the program has far less prestige. Since 1985, the Trojans have not taken home a conference regular-season championship. The likelihood of that doesn’t rise with the move to the 18-team Big Ten. Additionally, the show is somewhat underappreciated by the twelve or so other professional and collegiate teams that draw larger crowds in the greater Los Angeles area.

Whether Bronny James, one of college basketball’s most well-known players, decides to come back for a sophomore campaign is another undetermined.

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