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Dave Rice approved for 5-year contract extension with UNLV

Sep 8, 2012, 9:41 AM EST

Dave Rice, Anthony Marshall

Coming off of a run to the NCAA tournament last season, there seems there could be something special happening in Las Vegas, something that hasn’t been seen in the Nevada desert since the early 1990s.

Head coach Dave Rice has assembled a strong group of talent at UNLV and has been rewarded with a five-year contract extension that was approved by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents this week, the school announced.

“We are very happy with these contract approvals,” UNLV Athletics Director Jim Livengood said in a release. “I would like to thank the Board of Regents and (UNLV President) Neal Smatresk for their continued support of UNLV Athletics and these three fine coaches who are wonderful representatives for UNLV and our student-athletes.”

Rice is now signed through the 2016-17 season.

In his first season with the Runnin’ Rebels, Rice led the team to a 26-9 overall record.

With forward Mike Moser back, Rice has surrounded him with one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

Canadian forward Anthony Bennett leads the group, along with guards Katin Reinhardt and DaQuan Cook and forwards Demetris Morant and Savon Goodman.

Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch is eligible for the second semester, and Rice also brought in USC transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones and Connecticut transfer Roscoe Smith.

Along with San Diego State, the Rice and the Rebels should challenge for the Mountain West title and, on paper, have the raw talent to make a run in March.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_