Steve Alford left for UCLA, the players left behind lobbied for top assistant Craig Neal to get the job. The coaching search didn't last long as Neal was given the job full time. Neal will sign a five-year contract worth $750,000 annually, plus incentives. The deal would make Neal one of the four highest paid coaches in the Mountain West Conference.
Neal was with Alford at Iowa and the past six seasons at New Mexico and was considered a co-architect of the Lobos' resurgence. Neal was a finalist with Brian Gregory a year ago for his alma mater, Georgia Tech.
This will be Neal's first head coaching job in Division I. The Lobos will have a loaded team coming back and will have a good shot to repeat in the Mountain West. The Lobos return key players Tony Snell, Alex Kirk and Mountain West Conference player of the year Kendall Williams. Neal has inherited a good situation now he'll have to keep the momentum trending upward.