Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year three times.
Musselman hires Gus Argenal as assistant coach
Nevada head coach Eric Musselman (foreground) and assistant coach Gus Argenal give instructions to players before the start of an NCAA college basketball game against New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
FAYETTEVILLE — Gus Argenal, who was on Eric Musselman’s staff at Nevada as an assistant coach for two seasons, is being reunited with him at the University of Arkansas.
Musselman announced Monday that Argenal has been hired as an assistant coach for the Razorbacks.
When Musselman left Nevada to become Arkansas’ coach in April of 2019, Argenal went to Cal State Fullerton as an assistant coach for Dedrique Taylor and held the title of associate head coach.
Gus Argenal at a glance
AGE 39 (born on June 12, 1981)
FAMILY Wife Hannah, sons Bo and Ace
HOMETOWN Concord, Calif.
HIGH SCHOOL De La Salle
COLLEGE Cal Davis (bachelor’s degree in history, 2004); Arizona State (master’s degree in education, 2005).
PLAYING CAREER Point guard Cal Davis 2000-04
COACHING CAREER Arizona State graduate assistant coach 2004-05; Cal Davis assistant coach 2005-06; Texas-San Antonio director of basketball operations 2006-08; Chico State assistant coach 2008-11; Cal Davis assistant coach 2011-12; Rice assistant coach 2012-13; Cal State East Bay head coach 2013-17; Nevada assistant coach 2017-19; Cal State Fullerton assistant coach 2019-21; Arkansas assistant coach 2021-present.
Argenal, 39, has 17 years of coaching experience. He’s replacing Corey Williams, an Arkansas assistant coach the past two seasons who resigned April 14 to become an assistant coach at Texas Tech for new Red Raiders Coach Mark Adams.
“I have known Gus and his strong reputation in the basketball community for many years,” Musselman said in a news release. “He was a big part of our success at Nevada.
“He already knows our philosophy and terminology and has a great relationship with our staff so he will fit in immediately.
“Our players will enjoy his passion, his energy and his coaching style.”
Argenal will receive $200,000 in annual salary and a $6,000 car stipend as a 12-month appointed employee according to a copy of his letter of agreement with Arkansas, which was obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette through a Freedom of Information request.
Musselman has a 45-19 record at Arkansas, including 25-7 this season when the Razorbacks advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time since 1995 before losing to eventual national champion Baylor.
“The opportunity to join Coach Musselman’s staff at the University of Arkansas is a dream come true,” Argenal said in a news release. “In two short years, Coach Muss has taken the program to a championship level and I look to help him continue that trajectory.
“The combination of recruiting elite student-athletes, being supported by an amazing fan base, and competing in the renowned Bud Walton Arena make Fayetteville an unparalleled place.”
As an assistant at Nevada, Argenal was with Musselman when the Wolf Pack advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2018 and made a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019.
“It was the funnest thing I’ve ever gone through in coaching for sure,” Argenal said in an interview with Nevada Sports Net in March of 2020 when asked his memories of the 2018 NCAA Tournament in which the Wolf Pack beat Texas and Cincinnati before losing in the Sweet 16 to Loyola Chicago. “It was a phenomenal run. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”
Nevada was 29-8 and 29-5 in Argenal’s two seasons as an assistant coach and won its second and third consecutive Mountain West Conference titles. His second season at Nevada, Argenal had the title of associate head coach.
Argenal interviewed to be Nevada’s coach and replace Musselman, and star players Cody and Caleb Martin and Jordan Caroline — seniors on the 2018-19 team — expressed their support for him publicly to get the job.
But Nevada hired Steve Alford, who previously was the head coach at Missouri State, Iowa, New Mexico and UCLA.
Argenal had been the coach at Cal State East Bay — an NCAA Division II school in Hayward, Calif., where he had a 35-76 record — for four seasons when Musselman hired him at Nevada.
“Gus additionally has head coaching experience which was important to me,” Musselman said. “I know he will be a positive influence in our program and be a great representative for the University.”
Cal State Fullerton was 11-20 and 6-10 the past two seasons, and had several games canceled this season during the coronavirus pandemic.
This season the Titans shot 38.4% on three-pointers to rank 11th nationally and lead the Big West Conference and averaged 8.2 three-point baskets per game. Guard Tray Maddox Jr. was a second-team all-conference pick.
Last season Jackson Rowe and Brandon Kamga were second-team All-Big West picks for Cal State Fullerton and Kamga was the conference’s newcomer of the year.
Before going to Cal State East Bay, Argenal was an assistant coach at Cal Davis (2005-06), the director of operations at Texas-San Antonio (2006-08) and an assistant coach at Chico State (2008-11) in California, for a second stint at Cal Davis (2011-12) and Rice (2012-13).
Argenal began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arizona State during the 2004-05 season.
A native of Concord, Calif., Argenal played point guard at Cal Davis. As a senior during the 2003-04 season he had 13 assists against Cal San Diego to match the school record. His 274 assists rank eighth on the Cal Davis career list.
Argenal earned a degree in history from Cal Davis in 2004 and a master’s degree in education from Arizona State in 2005.
Argenal and his wife, Hannah, have two sons, Bo and Ace. Hannah also played basketball at Cal Davis.
“My wife, our two sons and I cannot wait to be a part of the northwest Arkansas community,” Argenal said.
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