Eric Musselman - Men's Basketball - Arkansas Razorbacks

Eric Musselman

ERIC MUSSELMAN (San Diego ‘87)
111-59 • 5 years as Arkansas head coach
101-34 • 4 years as Nevada head coach
221-93 • 9 years as collegiate head coach
503-291 • 14 seasons as professional head coach

  • Led the Hogs to three straight Sweet 16 berths, including a pair of Elite 8 appearances.
  • Defeated #1 NCAA seeds in the NCAA Tournament in 2022 and 2023 to become just the fourth program ever to defeat #1 seeds in their region in back-to-back years. In 2022, Arkansas not only defeated the overall #1 seed and AP #1 Gonzaga, but the Razorbacks also beat AP #1 Auburn during the regular season.
  • Won three (Mountain West) conference titles and finished second (SEC) once.
  • Put 11 players in the NBA since 2019.
  • Had at least one player drafted in each of the last five years. Overall, had seven players drafted.
  • Produced four All-Americas, two Conference Players of the Year, three Conference 6th Man of the Year awards and 21 All-Conference honors.

Eric Musselman was named head men’s basketball coach at the University of Arkansas on April 7, 2019, with his official welcome and press conference coming on the following day at Bud Walton Arena. Musselman has over 30 years of coaching experience, including 22 years as a professional and collegiate head coach.

In his first eight years as a collegiate head coach, Musselman’s teams won at least 20 games each year.

Prior to entering the collegiate head coaching ranks, Musselman was a head coach for seven professional teams, including two seasons with the Golden State Warriors (2002-04) and one with the Sacramento Kings (2006-07). He won over 500 games as a professional head coach with an overall winning percentage of .634 (503-291).

In his first four seasons at Arkansas, Musselman returned the program to heights it had not seen since the mid-1990’s. The Razorbacks played in three-straight NCAA Sweet 16’s for the first time since 1994, ’95 and ’96 while advancing to the Elite 8 in both 2021 and 2022.

After reaching the NCAA Elite 8 in year two, the Razorback fans responded by selling-out Bud Walton Arena for the entire season before the first game in each of the last two seasons (2021-22 and 2022-23) was played. Arkansas led the NCAA in total attendance in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The Razorbacks to land the #5 recruiting class in the nation for the 2020-21 season, highlighted by future NBA lottery pick Moses Moody, and the consensus #2 recruiting class for the 2022-23 season, including five-stars Nick Smith Jr., Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh with all six recruits landing on the ESPN and SI top 100 lists.  In addition, Musselman landed the top transfer players in the nation in each of the last three seasons.

Numerous individual honors have accompanied the teams’ success under Musselman. Wolf Pack players Caleb Martin and his twin brother Cody are in their fourth NBA season and Jalen Harris was selected in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft by Toronto. At Arkansas, Isaiah Joe was drafted in the second round in 2020 by Philadelphia. His Razorback teammate Mason Jones was the 2020 SEC co-Player of the Year and, after signing as a free agent, has played in the NBA with the Rockets, 76ers and Lakers.  In 2021, Moody became the first “one-and-done” player in Razorback history as he was an NBA Lottery pick (14th overall) by the Golden State Warriors. During the 2022-23 season, Stanley Umude made his NBA debut with the Detroit Pistons. In the summer of 2023, Arkansas had three “one-and-dones” as Black was selected sixth in the NBA Draft (the second-highest Razorback ever selected), Smith was a first-round pick and Walsh was an early second-round pick. Arkansas tied UCLA for the most draft picks (3) and was the only program to have three players selected within the first 40 picks.

Caleb Martin was a two-time All-America selection (2018 and ’19) at Nevada while Jones (2020), Moody (2021) and JD Notae (2022) earned All-America honors at Arkansas. Overall, 21 all-conference honors have been earned by Musselman players over the last seven seasons.

The 2022-23 season
was a roller-coaster for the Razorbacks. Entering the year with lots of preseason hype, having the second-best recruiting class thanks to three five stars and ranking among the nation’s top 10. However, injuries to Nick Smith Jr. (the top-ranked high school player in the country) throughout the year and a season-ending injury to Trevon Brazile nine games into the campaign) led to some inconsistency. But in typical Eric Musselman style, the program fought through the adversity and, thanks to playing one of the toughest schedules in the country, reached its third-straight NCAA Sweet 16 after defeating #1 seed Kansas in the NCAA second round and Arkansas was ranked #21 in the final coaches poll. During the year, Musselman picked up career collegiate win #200 with an 88-73 win at Kentucky.

Transfer Ricky Council IV was consensus second-team All-SEC after leading the league in free throws made and ranking third in scoring. Anthony Black was voted to the All-SEC second team (coaches), SEC All-Freshman team and a finalist for the National Freshman of the Year as he was the only player in the SEC to rank among the top 25 in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots. Davonte Davis added SEC All-Defensive Team honors. Council and Black added SEC weekly honors and, despite limited action, Nick Smith Jr., was a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week.

Black, Smith and fellow five-star Jordan Walsh all became “one-and-done” players, going sixth, 27th and 38th respectively in the 2023 NBA Draft. It was just the fourth time at least three Razorback teammates were taken in the same draft. Also, Arkansas and UCLA were the only programs to have three players draft with Arkansas being the only one with two – much less three – players taken inside the top 40 picks.

Year three at Arkansas (2021-22) saw the program reach heights it had not accomplished since the 1994 and ’95 seasons when winning the national title and finishing runner-up, respectively. In 2021-22, Arkansas won 28 games (28-9), won 13 SEC games (13-5) and reached the NCAA Elite 8. Coach Musselman led the Hogs to at least 25 wins overall, 13 SEC wins and the Elite 8 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the ’94 and ’95 campaigns. It marked just the sixth time in99 years of basketball Arkansas has won at least 28 games and as well as the just sixth time (in 31 seasons) to win 13 league games. Also like last year, Arkansas went through some adversity, dropping 5-of-6 games midway through the year, but won 18 of its final 22 with two historic victories along the way. While Arkansas was 17th in the AP final poll (prior to the NCAA Tournament), the Razorbacks finished #8 in the final coaches poll (after the NCAA Tournament) to give the program back-to-back top 10 finishes for the first time since 1994 and ’95.

After dropping 5-of-6 and starting 0-3 in the SEC, Musselman changed the starting lineup and it paid off with a dominant 87-43 win over Missouri, followed by a win at #12 LSU. Those wins sparked a nine-game win streak (eight SEC games and a victory over West Virginia in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge). Arkansas became the first major conference team to win eight consecutive conference games immediately following an 0-3 (or worse) start to league play since 1981-82. The streak was capped with an 80-76 overtime win over Auburn before a Bud Walton Arena record crowd of 20,327. Following a loss, Arkansas closed the regular season by going 5-1 with wins over #16 Tennessee and #6 Kentucky as well as the program’s first win at Florida since the Feb. 1995 season (a span of 14 consecutive road losses to the Gators).

Arkansas reached the SEC semifinals for the second straight year, thanks to its third win over LSU for the season, and earned a #4 seed in the West Regional for the NCAA Tournament. The Hogs defeated Vermont and New Mexico State to advance to the Sweet 16 where Arkansas took down overall #1 seed Gonzaga, 74-68. The win over the Bulldogs marked the first time a team had beaten the AP #1 team during the regular season (Auburn) and the AP #1 team during the NCAA Tournament (Gonzaga). The Razorback run came to end with a 78-69 loss to Duke in the NCAA Elite 8.

Arkansas led the NCAA in both free throws made (633) and attempted (833) while leading the SEC in free throw percentage (.760).

Individually, JD Notae and Jaylin Williams racked up the honors during the 2021-22 season. Notae earned All-American by seven publications – including third team honors by AP, the Sporting News, and The FIeld of 68 – while becoming just the second Razorback to be named the USBWA District Player of the Year. He additionally was a consensus first team All-SEC pick, thanks to being SEC and National Player of the Week in leading the Hogs to wins at Florida and versus Kentucky. Williams was named first team All-SEC by the coaches and second team by the media while adding SEC All-Defensive team honors. Williams was also 1-of-6 players named to The Athletic’s (Seth Davis) All-Glue team while being named to the Defensive All-America team.

In 2020-21, Arkansas advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time since 1995 and won 25 games overall, which tied for the eighth-best total in the NCAA and was the program. The Razorbacks won 13 SEC games to finish second in the conference. The conference win total was the most since going 13-5 in 2014-15. After a 2-4 start in SEC play, Musselman got the bus back in the right direction by winning 12 straight games versus SEC opponents and 15 of the final 18 overall.

Arkansas finished sixth in the final USA TODAY coaches poll (voted upon after the NCAA Tournament) and #10 in the Associated Press poll (which did not factor in the NCAA Tournament). It was the first time since 1995 Arkansas ended the season among the nation’s top 10.

Arkansas was third in the NCAA in free throws made (501) and 11th in the NCAA in scoring (81.4 ppg) while leading the SEC in scoring margin (+10.6).

For his efforts, Musselman was a Jim Phalen National Coach of the Year finalist, a Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year semifinalist and the Basketball Times Midlands District Coach of the Year.

Individually in 2020-21, Moses Moody was the first Razorback freshman to earn All-American honors and the first Razorback rookie to be a consensus first team All-SEC selection. The SEC’s Freshman of the Year has declared for the NBA draft to become the first “one-and-done” in Razorback history. Also, this past year, JD Notae was named National Sixth Man of the Year by Bleacher Report and the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year by the coaches.

In year one (2019-20), the Razorbacks led the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.272). The squad also led the SEC in free throws made (third in NCAA), turnover margin (ninth in the NCAA), turnovers forced (29th in the NCAA), total steals (34th in the NCAA), fewest turnovers per game (47th in NCAA).

Mason Jones was one of five finalists for the 2020 Jerry West Award, named AP honorable mention All-America, voted AP SEC co-Player of the Year and first team All-SEC, being one of two unanimous picks by the media. He was the only player in the league to rank among the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (20th), assists (10th) and steals (6th). Jones became just the third person to be named SEC Player of the Week a record four times while becoming the first Razorback to lead the SEC in scoring (22.03; 8th in the NCAA).

Jones and Isaiah Joe were both named USBWA All-District as they were to top-scoring duo in the SEC. Joe ranked seventh in the league by scoring 16.9 ppg. Joe, despite missing six total games due to a knee injury, led the SEC in 3-pointers made (94) while ranking fourth in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (3.26). Joe also set a school record for best free throw percentage in SEC games (.954) while ranking 14th in the NCAA in overall free throw percentage (.890).

At Nevada, Musselman led the Wolf Pack to Mountain West regular-season titles in each of the last three years. The Wolf Pack won the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) postseason tournament in his first year as head coach while adding a Mountain West tournament title in 2017 to secure the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. The past two seasons, Nevada earned at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament as a seventh seed each time.

In addition to his teams’ success, numerous individual honors have been bestowed upon his players. Caleb Martin was a two-time All-America selection (2018 and ’19), a two-time district Player of the Year honoree and 2018 Mountain West Player of the Year. Overall, 13 All-Mountain West honors were earned by Wolf Pack players over Musselman’s four seasons.

This past year, Nevada was ranked among the nation’s top 20 all season – including 16 weeks inside the top 10 – and won 29 games for the second straight year, finishing 29-5, to tie the school record for most wins in season. He was one of 15 finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award. The team featured Martin, who was named first team All-Mountain West along with Jordan Caroline while Cody Martin was tabbed third team all-conference. All three were named to the MW All-Defensive team while Jazz Johnson was the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.

The previous season (2017-18), Musselman led the Nevada basketball program to a place it had not been since 2004, winning 29 games (29-8) and reaching the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for just the second time in school history. The Wolf Pack upset No. 2 seed Cincinnati but fell just a point short of reaching the school’s first Elite 8, falling 69-68 to Loyola Chicago.

Musselman earned four Coach of the Year honors in 2018 after the Pack’s successful season, including MW coaches and media, USBWA District VIII and NABC District 17.

In addition to Musselman earning numerous honors several of his players hauled in top honors after the outstanding season. Caleb Martin garnered the first of his two All-America and District Player of the Year awards while adding MW Player of the Year, MW Newcomer of the Year and MW first team. Caroline was selected to the MW first team, USBWA District VIII team and NABC District 17 first team. Cody Martin earned MW Defensive Player of the Year honors, was selected the MW second team and the MW Defensive team. Kendall Stephens earned third-team MW honors after setting the conference and school record with 126 made 3-pointers. Lindsey Drew joined Caleb Martin on the MW Defensive team.

In year two at Nevada, Musselman led the Pack to a 28-5 ledger, the program’s first MW regular season and tournament titles as Musselman was named the USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year.

Several Wolf Pack players earned postseason honors. Marcus Marshall was named to the All-MW first team and MW Newcomer of the Year after breaking the then-Nevada single-season record with 115 3’s made. Cameron Oliver earned first team honors, Caroline earned second team honors and D.J. Fenner earned second team honors.

In his first season at Nevada, Musselman transformed the culture of the men’s basketball team. Musselman led the Wolf Pack to a 24-14 record and the CBI Championship, defeating Morehead State 85-82 in overtime. named him their Mountain West Coach of the Year as the Pack’s 15-win improvement from nine wins to 24 ranked the team as the sixth-most improved NCAA I squad in the country.

Three members of the Pack earned postseason honors. Marqueze Coleman was voted second team All-MW and NABC All-District. Tyron Criswell was selected as the MW Sixth Man of the Year by the conference media. Cameron Oliver set a school freshman mark and MW freshman record with his 99 blocks. Oliver was selected as the Freshman of the Year by the MW media, adding second team All-MW honors and being named to the league’s All-Defensive team.

Prior to Nevada, Musselman spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Arizona State and LSU. In 2013 the Sun Devils advanced to the second round of the NIT and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2014. The 2015 Tiger squad also advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

The 2013 ASU squad improved by 12 wins and advanced to postseason play for the first time in three years. He was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2013-14 season. While at ASU, Musselman coached 2013 second-round NBA selection Carrick Felix, 2012-13 Pac-12 co-Freshman of the Year Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski who led the nation in blocks in 2013-14.

In his only season at LSU, he coached two first team All-SEC selections in Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey. Mickey was also selected to the SEC All-Defensive team.

Musselman has been a head coach in the CBA, the United States Basketball League (USBL) and the NBADL along with the two NBA head coaching stops. His teams have collected six division titles and have advanced to the postseason seven times. He coached 24 players that went on to play in the NBA. Five times he was named CBA all-star coach. In addition to mentoring players to NBA careers, three of his former assistant coaches are current NBA head coaches, including Jim Boylan (Chicago Bulls), Scotty Brooks (Washington Wizards) and David Fitzdale (New York Knicks).

Musselman’s first head coaching job came at the age of 23 when he was hired by the Rapid City Thrillers of the Continental Basketball Association in 1989. He was the youngest coach in CBA history and the fastest to win 100 games.

He led the USBL Florida Sharks to a 53-3 record in two seasons and a league championship which earned him USBL Coach of the Year honors.

After working as an assistant under Doc Rivers and Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly, he was named the head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2002. He led the Warriors to 38 wins, a team-high in more than 10 years, and was runner-up in the NBA Coach of Year voting. He also coached the Warriors during the 2003-04 season.

Following a year as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies under Mike Fratello, he coached the Sacramento Kings for the 2006-07 season.

Musselman made his first stop in Reno for the 2010-11 season when he was head coach for the NBA D-League’s Bighorns and led them to their first Western Conference title in franchise history.

Musselman worked as an analyst on radio and television prior to coaching the Reno Bighorns (2010-11) and LA D-Fenders (2011-12) of the NBADL. In 2012 he earned Coach of the Year honors.

While coaching the Reno Bighorns in NBADL he worked with Jeremy Lin, Danny Green and Steve Novak who were called up to the NBA. Gerald Green, Malcom Thomas, Darius Morris, Jamario Moon and Courtney Fortson earned trips to the NBA when he coached them with the D-Fenders.

Musselman has experience coaching international basketball having served as the head coach of the Dominican Republic National Team (2010-11), The US and Team China in the Adidas Global Experience (2009, 2010) and The Venezuela National Team (2011-13).

Born in Ashland, Ohio he attended high school in Brecksville south of Cleveland. He attended the University of San Diego and helped the Toreros to a 24-6 record as a senior and a trip to the NCAA Tournament While at USD he was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic team three times and the Toreros played in two NCAA Tournaments.

Musselman is married to Danyelle Sargent Musselman who has worked at ESPN, Fox Sports and the NFL Network as a broadcaster. Musselman has two sons Michael and Matthew. He and Danyelle has a daughter, Mariah.

Musselman’s father Bill was also an NBA head coach and they were the first father-son combination to become head coaches in the NBA.

Eric Musselman's Collegiate Coaching Record

YearRecordConference RecordPostseason
2015-1624-1410-8 (4th MW)CBI Champion
2016-1728-714-4 (1st MW) ^ *NCAA 1st Round
2017-1829-815-3 (1st MW) ^NCAA Sweet 16
2019-1929-515-3 (1st MW) ^NCAA 1st Round
2019-2020-127-11 (10th SEC)* postseason cacnceled due to CO-VID 19
2020-2125-713-4 (2nd SEC)NCAA Elite 8
2021-2228-913-5 (4th SEC)NCAA Elite 8
2022-2322-148-10 (T-9th SEC)NCAA Sweet 16
2023-2416-176-12 (T-12th SEC)--
TOTALS221-93101-6015-7 (10-6 NCAA/5-1 CBI)

^ – regular-season champion
* – tournament champion