BREAKING! Eric Musselman IS Leaving Arkansas For USC HIS OUT!

Arkansas men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman is leaving for the University of Southern California, ESPN reports.

State of play: News of Musselman’s possible move circulated Wednesday. Whole Hog Sports has reported he would owe Arkansas a $1 million buyout if he leaves for another job. His annual salary at Arkansas is $4.2 million.

Background: Musselman led the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 2021 and 2022, and the Sweet 16 in 2023. The 2024 season was the team’s first losing campaign on his watch.

  • He graduated from the University of San Diego and has held three head coaching jobs in California.
  • Men’s basketball hired Arkansas Head Coach Eric Musselman on Thursday afternoon.

    “We were determined to find the best coach to champion the development of our student-athletes and elevate our men’s basketball program,” said USC Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen in a statement released by USC. “Eric displays heart, boldness, resiliency and everything that it means to be a Trojan.”

  • Musselman spent five years at the helm of Arkansas where he finished 111-59, or .653, overall. He experienced his worst year last season when the Razorbacks finished 16-17 and 6-12 in the SEC, marking the first time Arkansas failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in four years. Previously, Musselman had led Arkansas to three straight Sweet 16’s for the first time since 1996 and advanced to the Elite Eight in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

    Previously, he spent five years at the University of Nevada, Reno where he had a record of 110-34, or .764, with three NCAA Tournament appearances for the Wolfpack.

    The hiring of Musselman is the first significant USC hire for Cohen since she took the job in August. The athletic director was tasked with making a hire that changed the trajectory of the USC men’s basketball program following the departure of former Head Coach Andy Enfield and the team’s most recent rough season when it went 15-18 and 8-12 in the Pac-12 without an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time in four years.

    Cohen wasted no time in appointing Musselman just three days after Enfield’s departure, as speculation began circulating Wednesday about Musselman’s hiring when he first met with USC.

    The pressure was on for Cohen to make a quick decision as the Trojans’ recruiting class of 2024 — at one point a top-10 class — fell to the No. 53 rank in the country after the decommitment of four-star guard Trent Perry and Liam Campbell following the announcement of Enfield’s departure. The Trojans also lost a key component of their team when junior guard Kobe Johnson announced his transfer to crosstown rival UCLA via Instagram on Thursday morning.

    Musselman brings a heavy recruitment ability: He brought in the second-best recruiting class in the 2022-23 season, and he also added seven transfers from the transfer portal to his roster this season.

    His recruitment ability is needed to compete against teams in the Big Ten next year. USC hasn’t won a regular-season conference championship since 1985 and will face extended competition not seen in the Pac-12. Six Big Ten teams received a ticket to the Big Dance this season and the conference is arguably the second-hardest for men’s basketball behind the ACC.

    Musselman’s Razorbacks were plagued with injuries in the 2022-23 season, though they had the second-best recruiting class in the country. Without key players, Musselman struggled to find success in the SEC’s rigorous schedule. However, the culture he developed in Arkansas was about overcoming adversity.

    USC has its home run hire Cohen was hoping for. Musselman may be a nationally recognized coach, but only time will tell whether he’ll have time to get the roster he needs to be successful.

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