48 Hours with Coach Musselman

48 Hours with Coach Musselman

This is the first installment of the Nevada Basketball All-Access. This All-Access feature will take you inside the Wolf Pack Basketball Program, highlighting Head Coach Eric Musselman’s day to day activities, and will give you insider access the program’s coaching staff, players, and more!

Friday- July 7th

5:39 a.m. – The sun is just rising in Reno as Head Coach Eric Musselman is getting out of bed. Everyday is almost a challenge in itself to beat the sun up… And most days, Coach Musselman wins. He sneaks out of bed, as to not wake up his wife Danyelle or daughter in the next room, Mariah, to head to his computer to start his daily routine. Every morning, for as long as he can remember, Coach Musselman starts his day with at least 45 minutes of reading.

How he gathers the materials is a feat in itself. Most days, he wakes up to emails or texts from friends in every walk of life that know he has a passion for reading, that suggest an article to read. Other days, he will find the material himself, carefully searching google for leadership, motivation, or features on other coaches. He will read anything related to those topics and in any field. For example, today it is a feature on Angela Lee Duckworth’s “Grit”, and a few articles on collegiate programs preparing their players for life after college.

6:45 a.m. – Another routine that Coach Musselman can’t recall when it started, his daily workout at the local health club. Coach Musselman’s workout routine can seem monotonous to others, but he enjoys the time spent there.

“I couldn’t tell you the last time I didn’t work out in the morning. It’s something I picked up from my dad when I was in my 20’s. My dad was big into staying healthy and being in good shape. I just think it has carried over to me and I enjoy it. Plus, in practice, I still love getting out there and rebounding for our players or jumping in drills. I think that is a huge benefit for a coach.”

Coach Musselman’s Workout Routine:

6:45am-6:55am: Warm Up: 10 Min - Stationary Bike

6:55am-7:25am: 30 Min - Stair Stepper (Read USA Today and RGJ)

7:25am-7:55am: 30 Min – Treadmill (Reading daily clips from around the Mountain West and college basketball, HoopsHype from prior day)

7:55am-8:40am: 45 Min - Weightlifting with Aubrey Mcreary (Former NBA Assistant Coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers or with Danyelle Musselman)

8:45 a.m. – These last few minutes before his drive into work are some of his best. As he gets home, his wife and daughter greet him at the front door. Family is the most important thing to Coach Musselman. As he spends his last few precious minutes talking to his daughter Mariah before she goes off to volleyball camp, he reflects on the times he used to go to basketball camp and his dad used to see him off every morning.

“Before my day started as a kid, my dad used to say goodbye to me when I left every morning. He would write on my lunch bag everyday the 3 E’s (Energy, Enthusiasm, and Effort… Coach Musselman added ‘Execution’ when he started his coaching career). This was so impactful to me as a young kid; it is something that I wanted to do with all of my children before they started their day. I guess you can kind of call it coaching.”

8:55 a.m. – On his way to work, he makes a few calls to his close friends and his two sons. He makes it a point to check in once a day with his sons, Michael and Matthew. His oldest son Michael is a Senior at the University of San Diego, and his youngest son Matthew, is a Junior at Monte Vista High School in the Bay Area.

Coach Musselman made it a point when finding a house in Reno that he had to be within 10 minutes of campus. His biggest thing when finding a home was to be accessible to the players. It is something he has taken with him his entire career and it just ingrained in him now. If a player ever needs anything, he wants to be close enough to get there in a moments notice.

When he was an NBA Assistant, he wanted live close to the arena because Jason Terry, Mike Miller, Penny Hardaway, Jason Williams, were all gym rats and would call him at all times during the night, and he wanted to be there to rebound for them.

9:00 a.m. – Coach Musselman strolls through the office and greets his staff. He stops at Coach Jones’ office and strikes up a conversation about yesterday’s practice. Noting that the effort both teams gave was tremendous and that they have to find a way to sustain that level of energy today.

Coach Jones was hired two months ago after he was let go as the Head Coach at LSU. Ironically, Coach Musselman worked for Coach Jones at LSU 2 years ago. When he hired Jones, he knew he was hiring an intelligent basketball mind and hard worker. More importantly, he hired someone that he strongly revered for his character and as a man.

They speak for 3 or 4 minutes about the upcoming practice and some motivational tools Coach Jones used at LSU, and then the conversation is interrupted by a phone call. It’s his oldest son, Michael, just calling him back from this morning.

9:15 a.m. – Everyday starts as habitually as the day before, with a 9:15am staff meeting. Coach Musselman huddles the entire staff in his office every morning for a detailed breakdown on practice, academics, and recruiting. He understands that every member of the staff has specific roles and duties associated with each topic and that they don’t necessarily need to be involved in every conversation, but, he understands the importance of including everyone on staff in every conversation for growth, development, and the opportunity to learn.

“I know when I was a younger coach, I sort of stayed in my lane. I wasn’t always introduced or given the opportunity to learn about other facets of the programs or organizations I was in. I learned back then that if I ever became a head coach, every member of my staff would be involved, even the support staff and graduate assistants. We think its extremely important to their development as young coaches.”

12:30pm – The staff makes their way down to the practice floor for the day’s practice. The coaching staff has split their week into 30-minute blasts, 4 days a week. Due to NCAA rules, they can only be on the floor with the players for 2 hours a week during the summer. Practice starts at 12:45pm and the players will get work in every minute while they are on the floor. There isn’t any downtime in a Musselman practice. It’s a mix between organized structure with unbelievable energy and chaotic sprinting from one station or group to another.

Coach Musselman is a firm believer that you must build “sweat equity” with your players. You must put the work in with them on the floor to help build your relationship with them and build their trust in you.

1:00pm – As most coaches are (and as you can see as we move forward in this piece), most coaches are creatures of habit. From daily routines to what they wear, they don’t move far from what they know. Coach Musselman’s lunch habits aren’t immune to this either. Everyday at 1pm, the staff goes to their “spot”, Chipotle. The lunch routine includes of Assistant Coach Anthony Ruta, who has been with coach since his first day at Nevada. There is no one that Coach Musselman trusts more about the day to day and future of the Wolf Pack than Ruta. Loyalty is at the core of the relationship.

Between eating, the daily lunches turn into staff meetings. Coach Musselman goes through a litany of things that may have occurred during practice that need to be adjusted, or things that they need to address before the day’s end.

5:00pm – The day is followed by meetings, recruiting phone calls, and more meetings. But, Coach Musselman clocks in another full day as the Wolf Pack Head Basketball Coach. Before he heads out for the day, he finds his daily motivation and reading material for the next day’s workout.

5:15pm – As Coach heads out the door, its apparent that the entire day has been planned almost to the minute. One of Musselman’s biggest keys to success is organization.

“As a coach, the most important thing is to be organized. We try our best to stay with a plan and routine that has been efficient and productive on a day to day basis. Our goal as a staff is if you can attack each day, and win each day, you can win the week. And if you win the week, you can win the month, and so on and so forth. So how do you do that? Well, the easiest way is being organized. We try to have an itinerary going into everyday so we can be our best. Obviously, we will get off track, but it gives us a road map as we go through the day.”

5:25pm – On the way home, Coach Musselman picks up his daughter Mariah from soccer practice and catches up on her day’s activities. When the two get home, they are greeted at the door by his wife and their dog, Swish (It’s only right to name their dog after the best sound in basketball, a perfect swish).

Danyelle greets them at the door. Tonight is a big night for Coach Musselman and his wife. It’s the annual Governer’s Dinner, an event held every year at the Governor Sandoval’s Mansion.

Saturday - July 8th

5:00 a.m. – The day starts earlier than the prior. Coach is on the road at 5am to travel to the Bay Area to see his son Matt play in a summer basketball tournament. The first game is at 9am and he can’t be late. He is never late. These games are more important to him than any game he has ever coached. He stresses the importance of making it to these games because of how busy he will get once the Nevada Basketball Program season starts.


10:30am – You’d be crazy to think Coach Musselman would miss a day of workouts. He knows Matt’s next game isn’t until 2pm, and knows exactly where he can get a quick workout in between games, while also squeezing in lunch with his son. He is off to a health club down the street with Matt. The two of them spend over an hour there, more impressively for his son who just finished a full basketball game, and head over to a local sandwich shop to eat a quick lunch before the next game at 2pm. (Per NCAA rules, Coach Musselman can’t be in the gym watching unless his son Matt is playing).

4:30pm – It’s not all work for Coach Musselman today. He has planned out a special day for he and his son. They haven’t had the chance to take many of these days, due to the demands of being a Division I Head Basketball Coach and a 16-year old high school kid. Coach Musselman has arranged tickets for the San Francisco Giants game for he and his son. Even more so, he has worked it out so he and his son can attend the Giants’ batting practice at 5pm. They must head there early to beat the traffic and catch a bit of the Marlin’s BP as well.

Coach Musselman knows Bruce Bochy, the manager of the San Francisco Giants, from his days with the Golden State Warriors, and Phil Nevin from his time spent as the manager of the Minor League Reno Aces.

9:45pm – It’s a 1 hour ride to drop his son Matt off. The day has been long but the two have savored every moment. Coach Musselman explains how important family is to him and no one can question how much he cares about his two sons and daughter. The demands and expectations as a Head Basketball Coach at the Divison I level are tough, so it is important that he goes the extra mile with his family. 

10:00pm - Another day clocked in as the Wolf Pack Head Basketball Coach for Coach Musselman. He spends the next couple hours at night going back through recruiting notes and phone calls with his players and staff. He finally winds it down around midnight, only to beat the sun up the next morning for his daily workout.

Coach Musselman and his son Matt Musselman outside of AT&T Park