UNC Basketball: King Rice makes coaching decision

New UNC Basketball head coach Hubert Davis is still finalizing his staff after taking over for legendary coach Roy Williams. While it’s been under a week since Davis was officially introduced as the new head coach, he’s already been busy at work including landing his first recruit.

As Davis is finalizing who his staff will exactly be, he can now cross one name off of his list of potential candidates.

Former UNC basketball standout King Rice made his decision on Sunday morning, opting to stay at Monmouth as head coach instead of joining Davis’ staff. The report comes from Asbury Park Press’ Stephen Edelson writing that Rice has informed Monmouth officials that he plans on returning to the program this season:

But Rice has informed Monmouth officials that he plans to return to West Long Branch, where he’s been the Hawks’ head coach for the past 10 seasons.

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Monmouth athletic director Marilyn McNeil, who hired Rice a decade ago. “He’s very loyal and he’s happy and we’re delighted that he is going to stay. At the same time, we would support him in whatever his decision might have been.”

Rice was a candidate for the head coaching job at North Carolina, interviewing with the program before they made their decision to go with Davis. After he was not picked for the job, Davis expressed interest in having his former teammate on his staff with two openings.

Both Rice and Davis played together at UNC for two seasons under Dean Smith and still have a friendship to this day. While Davis is getting his first crack at a head coaching job, Rice has plenty of experience, being the coach of Monmouth since the 2011 season.  Over that time, he has a 161-154 record and has been named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year three times.

Prior to that, he’s been an assistant at Oregon, Illinois State, Providence, and Vanderbilt.

For more on Davis and the UNC Basketball program, please check back with Keeping It Heel.