As former King Reggie Theus continues to get mentions in every NBA city with a coaching vacancy, his current employers at New Mexico State are doing everything in their power to keep him in Las Cruces.
Yesterday, the college boosted his salary to $466,000 per year, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. Theus is now the highest paid coach in the Western Athletic Conference.
One of interesting things here is that the private sector is paying for nearly the entire raise. Las Cruces-area businesses are paying $100,000 of Theus' salary from here on out. Theus made $350,000 this past season. You always here grumbling from anti-athletics gadflies who raise hackles about coaches being the highest paid employees at a university. Bringing in the business community to directly help pay to keep quality coaches quenches some of it. Obviously, it's a win for the college itself, which gets a stronger hold on its valued coach without spending a dime. Athletic programs are already buoyed heavily by business interests. This is another logical step.
But sadly for the Aggies, $466,000 a year isn't going to keep Theus in Las Cruces if the NBA comes calling. I doubt Theus would leave NM State for another college program -- the Kentucky vacancy came and went, and that will be the most prestigious job we'll see in the next few years. Theus balked at Michigan, and his alma mater UNLV isn't that much better than NM State (and already has a 'favorite son' in Lon Kruger at the helm). And Theus has made it clear he won't come to the NBA to be an assistant coach. Any team that hires Theus will surely pay more than a half-million a year. So while it's a good show of loyalty for Las Cruces to bump Reggie's salary, it's certainly no guarantee to keep him in town.