Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
Musselman hires Moser to complete coaching staff
New Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman waves to fans after landing at Drake Field on Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Fayetteville. Musselman will be formally introduced as the Razorbacks' coach Monday at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas coach Eric Musselman has hired his third assistant coach in Clay Moser, who has an extensive NBA background.
Moser, 56, will join Corey Williams and Chris Crutchfield on Musselman's first coaching staff at Arkansas. Williams previously was head coach at Stetson and Crutchfield was hired away from an assistant coach position at Oklahoma.
Moser was an assistant coach and director of basketball strategy for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2015. He was the Lakers' head advance scout between 2012-15, and previously was on the franchise's analytics committee specializing in advance opponent preparation.
Moser began working for the Lakers organization in August 2011 as the associate head coach for the Los Angeles D-fenders of the D-League.
“I know the University of Arkansas has a great history, a national championship,” Moser said. “They have great fans, great environment. It’s an unbelievable league. I know all that going in and that clearly excites me to a great degree.”
He said he is looking forward to the passion of the college game.
“You don’t play nearly as many games as you do in the NBA,” Moser said. “I’m not saying there’s no passion in the NBA, but 82 games is a grind. Some nights it’s there and some nights it’s not.”
Arkansas will be the sixth team on which Musselman and Moser have worked together. They previously worked together with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, and with the Reno Bighorns and the D-fenders of the D-League.
“We also worked together for the Dominican Republic national team,” Moser said.
Musselman was the head coach of the Dominican Republic and Moser was his first assistant when they helped secured a silver medal in Centro Basket Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tourney and qualified for the Pan Am Games and the FIBA Americas-Pre Olympic Qualifier in 2010.
Moser first met Musselman in 1989 when Musselman was the head coach of the Rapid City Thrillers and Moser was an assistant for Sioux Falls Skyforce of the Continental Basketball Association.
“He was either 22 or 23 and a head coach at the pro level, and I was an assistant coach and we were cross-state rivals,” Moser said. “For a league that didn't draw very well, our two franchises drew really, really well and when we played each other it was basically a packed house every night.
“So we started out as competitors and over the course of time we had the chance to work together on multiple occasions.”
Moser worked as the advance scout in 2002-03 for the Warriors when Musselman was the head coach and was the runner-up for NBA coach of the year, and 2006-07 for the Kings while Musselman was head coach in Sacramento.
He said he and Musselman have always clicked when working together.
“It doesn’t mean we always agree on everything and I don’t think it’s even healthy to agree on everything, but we have good creative battles and good creative conversations and good creative debates,” Moser said. “But at the end of the day, I always understood he’s the boss and when you leave the office or the conference room or wherever it is where you’re having those battles, whatever he says goes and you go out on the floor with the players and that’s the message you’re putting forth.
“I’ve always been loyal to him and I’ve considered myself a loyal guy to the head coach whenever I’ve been an assistant coach and Muss has always been a guy that appreciates that and understands that’s a big part of the deal.”
Moser agreed to the job several days ago and signed an offer letter Friday.
“I will be in Fayetteville on Monday to kind of get my feet under me and get a lay of the land and see the city and meet all of the people,” he said.
Moser was the regional advance scout for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009-10 when the Cavs had the best record in the NBA. He was the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League from 2008-09, and was an advance scout for the Orlando Magic in 2007-08.
Moser also has NBA front office experience. He was vice president of business development in 2005-06 for the New Orleans Hornets when Hurricane Katrina forced the Hornets to play home games in Oklahoma City for two seasons.
He was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs’ summer league team in 2005. Moser was a consultant for the NBA in International Business Development and Team Business Operations also in 2005.
Moser was the head coach of Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College in 2001-02. In addition to his stint with Musselman in the Dominican Republic, Moser's international experience includes time as a head coach in China, conducting a basketball camp in Lebanon and twice serving on USA Basketball's board of directors.
He worked for Jim Valvano at North Carolina State as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 1987-89. The school produced seven players that went on to play in the NBA during that time.
“He (Valvano) was one of the people I targeted,” Moser said. “There were 10 or so NCAA Division I coaches that I had targeted when I was young and I just had a dream of being a Division I basketball coach.”
The Wolfpack were a No. 3 seed in the 1988 NCAA Tournament, and No. 5 seed in 1989 when the team made the Sweet 16 after winning the ACC regular season title.
There will be a learning curve for Moser as he gets used to the college game again.
“I need to relearn the college game and I need to relearn the recruiting game, but I’ve already started that research,” Moser said. “I’ve been working at it every day since Musselman and I started talking.”
He began his coaching career as the head assistant coach for Fergus Falls (Minn.) Community College under Dave Retzlaff from 1983-87 after playing there from 1981-84.
Retzlaff complied a 657-317 record and won the NJCAA Division III national title in 1998 with a 29-0 record. Retzlaff was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2006.
“A lot of my philosophy to this day goes back to my experience with him not only played for him, but having coached with him,” Moser said. “I just love the way he went about it. He had a tremendous sense for his team; was a very patient guy.”
Moser graduated from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management.
“I’ve done a lot of different things in a lot of different places and I can bring different elements of ideas that I’ve seen where I’ve been,” Moser said, "both good and bad.”
Clay Moser Timeline
2014-19: Assistant Coach, Los Angeles Lakers
2012-14: Head Advance Scout, Los Angeles Lakers
2011-12: Advance Scout, Los Angeles Lakers
2011: Associate Head Coach, LA D-Fenders
2010-11: Associate Head Coach, Reno Bighorns
2009-10: Regional Advance Scout, Cleveland Cavaliers
2008-09: Head Coach, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
2007-08: Advance Scout, Orlando Magic
2006-07: Advance Scout, Sacramento Kings
2005-06: Vice President of Business Development, New Orleans Hornets
2005: Summer League Assistant Coach, San Antonio Spurs
2004-05: Head Coach, Jilin Northeastern Tigers (Chinese Basketball Association)
2003-04: Head Coach, Great Lakes Storm (Continental Basketball Association)
2002-03: Advance Scout, Golden State Warriors
2001-02: Head Coach, Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College
1997-01: CEO/President/General Manager: Idaho Stampede
1996-97: Senior Vice President, Continental Basketball Association
1994-96: Vice President of Basketball Operation, Continental Basketball Association
1992-94: General Manager, Sioux Falls Skyforce (Continental Basketball Association)
1989-92: Assistant Coach, Sioux Falls Skyforce (Continental Basketball Association)
1987-89: Assistant Coach, North Carolina State
1983-87: Assistant Coach, Fergus Falls (Minn.) Community College
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