Eric Musselman, 45, comes to Reno with more than two decades of experience in professional basketball—including three seasons as head coach for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
In June 2006, Musselman was hired to take over as head coach for the Sacramento Kings. He led the Kings to a 33-49 (.402) mark that season on a club led by Mike Bibby, Ron Artest and Kevin Martin. Sacramento ranked eighth in the NBA in scoring (101.3 ppg) and first in free-throw attempts (30.2 fta/pg). On the defensive end, Musselman’s team ranked third in the league in steals (8.2 spg), fourth in turnovers (16.3 tpg) and fifth in points off turnovers (18.7 ppg).
Prior to his stint in Sacramento, Musselman earned his first-career NBA head coaching post with the Golden State Warriors in 2002. In his first season, he received 26 first-place votes and finished second in the NBA Coach of the Year vote behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich. That season, Musselman led the Warriors to 38 victories, the team’s highest win total in a decade. Golden State improved its record by 17 wins since the prior season, the biggest turnaround in the NBA that year.
In his second season with the Warriors, Golden State finished 37-45 (.451). The Warriors were the most-improved defensive team in the NBA in the 2003-04 season, shaving 9.6 points per game off their opponent’s scoring average from the previous season.
In addition to serving as a head coach in the NBA, Musselman was an assistant on a number of staffs under some of the most prominent coaches in the league. He helped lead the Memphis Grizzlies twice to the NBA playoffs, working as an assistant under Mike Fratello. Musselman was on the staff for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2002-03 season, was an assistant in Orlando from 1997-2000 under Chuck Daly and Doc Rivers, was on the staff for the Minnesota Timberwolves in their inaugural season in 1989 and was the assistant to the director of player personnel for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1987-88 season.
In addition to his coaching experience in the NBA, Musselman has left his mark as one of the most celebrated coaches in minor league basketball history. He served as head coach for the Rapid City Thrillers of the CBA for five seasons before the team relocated to West Palm Beach, Fla., where he was retained as general manager and head coach for the Florida Beachdogs. He won 208 games in the CBA, carrying a .671 winning percentage—the second best mark in the league’s history.
Musselman was a five-time CBA All-Star coach, and he won six division titles, earning a postseason berth in every season. He began his CBA career as the general manager of the Thrillers in 1988, when he hired current Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders—then a collegiate assistant—to head the coaching staff. A year later, the 23-year-old Musselman became the youngest head coach in CBA history. In that first season, Musselman led Rapid City to a 38-16 record after finishing 16-38 the previous year.
At age 28, he became the youngest head coach in professional basketball history to win 100 games.
Musselman also spent two seasons in the USBL, where he led the Florida Sharks to back-to-back league titles. In two seasons, Musselman’s teams achieved a 54-3 (.947) record.
He has also spent time in international play, serving as an assistant for the USA squad that earned a gold medal in the 1997 Tournament of Americas in Uruguay. He assisted Hubie Brown on the Nike/CBA All-Star squad that won the Limoges Grand Trophy tournament in Limoges, France. He has recently conducted clinics in Greece, China, Brazil and Russia. In the summer of 2010, he coached the Dominican Republic National Team. Led the team to a silver medal after going 5-1 in Centro Basket, and the team qualified for the Pre-Olympic Tourney in Argentina next summer.
Musselman played collegiately at the University of San Diego, where he was a three-time West Coast Athletic Conference all-academic team selection and co-captain. During his stay at USD, he helped guide the Toreros to two NCAA Tournament appearances. Musselman graduated from the University of San Diego in 1987 with a degree in political science.
Musselman has been one of the game’s premier radio and television analysts over the last several years. He served as color commentator for Comcast and Versus last season, calling West Coast Conference and NBA Development League games, respectively. He is still active as Fox Sports Radio’s NBA analyst, appearing weekly on several nationally-broadcast FSR programs. Musselman was a guest columnist for The New York Times, The Sporting News, basketballnews.com and Winning Hoops from 2007—2009. In 2004, he worked as the color commentator on ESPN Radio’s NBA Game of the Week.
His father, Bill Musselman, was a prominent head coach in the NBA, ABA, CBA, WBA and collegiately. Musselman is the only person to have ever served as a head coach in four professional basketball leagues. He boasted NBA head coaching posts with Cleveland and Minnesota, while serving as an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers. Musselman led two different NCAA Division I schools—Minnesota and South Alabama—to NCAA Tournament appearances. Among his stops is the minor league circuit was one season with the Reno Bighorns of the Western Basketball Association. In the 1978-79 season, Musselman led the Bighorns to the WBA championship series, where they’d fall 4-to-3 in seven games.
Musselman is married to Danyelle Sargent Musselman, who is currently a reporter for Fox Sports. The couple has one child, a daughter, Mariah. Musselman also has two sons: Michael (15) and Matthew (10).