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Nevada’s basketball coach can’t seem to keep his shirt on


There might not be a basketball coach in the country who takes his shirt off in public as frequently and with as much relish as Nevada’s Eric Musselman.

Two years ago, as you surely remember if you work for the College Basketball Invitational, Musselman celebrated a CBI title-clinching overtime win over Morehead State with his midriff fully exposed.

“The first year I was at Nevada, we won a CBI championship and, as I was taking my dress shirt off to put on the championship T-shirt, the guys grabbed me and picked me up,” Musselman explained to Dan Patrick on Monday. “And I was mid-stream of getting the T-shirt on, and then it just kind of became a tradition.”

“My abs showed,” he told the Sacramento Bee at the time. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing. But it was so cool what we did this season.”

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The next season, Nevada won its first Mountain West Conference regular season title. The Sparks Tribune described the scene thusly:

After inheriting a program that won just nine total games two years ago, Coach Eric Musselman ripped his shirt off on Saturday night, waving it in the air while getting showered by silver and blue confetti.

Once is a fluke. Twice is a tradition. And it’s a tradition that continued, because a year later, there was another title and another gun show. This is a man comfortable in his shirt-less skin.

Just last month, Musselman awarded a scholarship to fan favorite Charlie Tooley, “and he did so in typical Musselman fashion — with his shirt off,” Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote. “During the Wolf Pack’s first drill of practice, Musselman had Tooley dive for a loose ball. After Tooley gathered the ball and looked at Musselman, the coach had his shirt off with Tooley’s scholarship offer taped to his back.”


Heck, more than a decade ago NBA writer Sam Amick caught up with the then-Sacramento Kings coach in Vegas during summer league:

He is stretched out on a lounge chair, shirt off and smile on as he sunbathes poolside at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas earlier this month. Musselman’s two sons, 10-year-old Michael and 5-year-old Matthew, play in the water with his new Kings coaching staff, the immediate family and the extended one getting along famously during this break from summer-league action.

And so Sunday’s crazed scene — after Nevada’s crazed comeback win over Cincinnati to clinch a crazed Sweet 16 berth — wasn’t something out of the ordinary. This was Musselman’s go-to move.

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“Well, I had been tipped off that there was going to be a lot of water sprayed in my direction,” Musselman told Rich Eisen on Monday. “I had a really expensive shirt on, and I had a good tie, and I work out every day because I’ve got a very, very, very beautiful wife, and so I have no problem taking my shirt off with the camera around.”

“I guess because my wife’s really, really good-looking, I’ve got to try to stay in as good as possible shape as I possibly can,” he told Patrick.

His son — the 5-year-old mentioned above, who is now a high school junior — grabbed a pen and signed dad’s chest. Every sports blog in the universe posted the video. Many pointed out that the 53-year-old seems to be in decent shape.

“I can bench 225 still,” he told Patrick. “No, I’m just kidding. I can do 100 push-ups in 10 minutes. That’s my claim to fame in the workout world.”

He also claimed to be doing the next day’s round of interviews fully clothed. And he claimed he won’t disrobe again this season. I don’t believe him.

“I think I’ve got to try to uphold a little bit of professionalism,” he told Eisen. “I’m going to try to keep my shirt on for the remainder of the season.”

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