LITTLE ROCK — Less than three weeks after the departure of the first assistant coach he hired at Arkansas, Razorbacks head coach Eric Musselman has filled the vacancy with a familiar face in Cal State Fullerton associate head coach Gus Argenal, according to sources. Argenal was on Musselman’s staff for his last two seasons at Nevada before Musselman took the job at Arkansas in early April 2019.
Argenal — he has 17 years experience in college coaching — served as an assistant coach (2017-18) then associate head coach (’18-19) under Musselman in Reno, Nev., before Musselman moved on to Fayetteville and Argenal moved on to Fullerton for the ’19-20 season.
Argenal becomes the fifth assistant bench coach that Musselman has hired since taking over at Arkansas just more than two years ago (April 7, 2019) as only Clay Moser remains from his original staff. Argenal fills the staff opening created when Corey Williams left the Razorbacks on April 14 to accept a similar assistant coaching position at Texas Tech.
Williams was the second coach to leave Arkansas in the last year as former associate head coach Chris Crutchfield left the program after only one season (’19-20) to take the head coaching job at Division II East Central University (Okla.) for the ’20-21 season. Crutchfield on April 12 joined the Oregon Ducks coaching staff as an assistant coach.
Argenal was among a quartet of Hog staffers — joining Musselman, Moser, and director of student-athlete development Earl Boykins — to reach out on behalf of Arkansas to 2022 Hog offer and national top 50 prospect Derrian Ford (6-4 CG, Magnolia) on Sunday, according to a source. He also has already spoken with 2022 in-state recruiting targets Joseph Pinion (6-6 wing, Morrilton, already committed to Arkansas), Nick Smith, Jr. (6-5 combo guard, Sylvan Hills), and Kel’el Ware (6-11 forward / center, North Little Rock).
The University of Arkansas men’s basketball program had not formally announced the hiring of Argenal as of Sunday when Hogville.net first reported it, but the program did make the announcement on Monday morning via press release.
“I have known Gus and his strong reputation in the basketball community for many years,” Musselman said. “He was a big part of our success at Nevada. He already knows our philosophy and terminology and has a great relationship with our staff so he will fit in immediately. Our players will enjoy his passion, his energy and his coaching style. Gus additionally has head coaching experience which was important to me. I know he will be a positive influence in our program and be a great representative for the University.”
Argenal expressed excitement after joining the Arkansas coaching staff.
“The opportunity to join Coach Musselman’s staff at the University of Arkansas is a dream come true,” Argenal said. “In two short years, Coach Muss has taken the program to a championship level and I look to help him continue that trajectory. The combination of recruiting elite student-athletes, being supported by an amazing fan base, and competing in the renowned Bud Walton Arena make Fayetteville an unparalleled place. My wife, our two sons, and I cannot wait to be a part of the northwest Arkansas community.”
Here’s more on Argenal from Arkansas’ media release …
This past season (2020-21), Fullerton ranked 11th in the NCAA and led the Big West in 3-point field goal percentage (.384) and guard Tray Maddox Jr., was tabbed second team All-Big West. In his first year with the program (2019-20), the Titans had their season cut short due to COVID-19. However, Argenal helped Jackson Rowe and Brandon Kamga claim second team All-Big West honors while Kamga was also named Big West Newcomer of the Year.
Argenal joined the Titans after spending the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach and the 2018-19 season as the associate head coach at Nevada. The Wolf Pack went to the NCAA Tournament both years, including the Sweet 16 in his first season, and won the Mountain West Championship both years as well. They also won 29 games in each season, tying the school record.
Argenal helped Wolf Pack players Caleb Martin, Jordan Caroline, Cody Martin, Kendall Stephens and Lindsey Drew earn postseason honors in 2017-18. Caleb Martin garnered Associated Press honorable mention All-American, MW Player of the Year, MW Newcomer of the Year, MW first team, USBWA District VIII Player of the Year, USBWA VIII team and first team NABC District 17 honors in his junior campaign. Cody Martin earned 2018 MW Defensive Player of the Year honors, was selected the MW second team and to the MW Defensive team. Kendall Stephens earned third-team MW honors after setting the conference and school record with 126 made 3-pointers. Lindsey Drew joined Caleb Martin on the MW Defensive team.
In 2018-19, Caroline and Caleb Martin were selected to the first team for the second consecutive season, Cody Martin was named to the third team. Jazz Johnson was chosen as the Sixth Man of the Year. Caroline and both Martins were selected to the defensive team. Prior to the season the Martin twins and Caroline were named to the 2018-19 MW media preseason team.
Caroline and Caleb Martin were also named to the United States Basketball Writers Association District VIII team today for the second year in a row. Caleb Martin was named the District VIII Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Cody Martin went on to be drafted No. 36 by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2019 NBA Draft. Also, Caleb Martin signed with the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan Caroline signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Tre’Shawn Thurman signed with the Detroit Pistons. In addition, Jalen Harris – who redshirted with the Wolf Pack during the 2018-19 season – went on to be drafted No. 59 by the Toronto Raptors in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Argenal spent four seasons (2013-17) as the head coach of the Cal State East Bay Pioneers, an NCAA Division II school, and posted a 35-76 record.
Prior to being named the head coach at Cal State East Bay he was an assistant coach during the 2012-13 season at Rice. He spent the 2011-12 year at UC Davis as an assistant coach after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at Chico State (2008-11). From 2006-08 he was the director of operations at UT San Antonio. His first stint as an assistant coach at UCD came in 2005-06 after working as a graduate assistant at Arizona State in 2004-05.
Argenal was a point guard who played at UC Davis and still holds the Aggies single-game record with 13 assists. His senior season he topped the Aggies in assists and steals and helped the 2003-04 team post an 18-9 record. He received his undergraduate degree in history from UCD in 2004 and earned a master’s degree in education from Arizona State in 2005.
As a prep athlete, Argenal was a three-year starter at De La Salle High School (Concord, Calif.) under legendary head coach Frank Allocco. As a senior and team captain in 1999, he led the Spartans to the Northern California regional finals and was named BVAL Most Valuable Player.
He is married to former UC Davis women’s basketball standout, the former Hannah Turner. The couple has two boys, Bo and Ace. Argenal is a second-generation American as his grandparents on his father’s side were born in Nicaragua.
Hometown: Concord, Calif. (De La Salle HS)
Alma Mater: UC Davis, 2004 (Master’s: Arizona State, 2005)
Wife: the former Hannah Turner
Children: Sons – Bo and Ace.
2004-05: Arizona State (Graduate Assistant Coach)
2005-06-: UC Davis (Assistant Coach)
2006-08: UT Arlington (Director of Basketball Operations)
2008-11: Chico State (Assistant Coach)
2011-12: UC Davis (Assistant Coach)
2012-13: Rice (Assistant Coach)
2013-17: Cal State East Bay (Head Coach)
2017-18: Nevada (Assistant Coach)
2018-19: Nevada (Associate Head Coach)
2019-21: Cal State Fullerton (Associate Head Coach)
2021-pres.: Arkansas (Assistant Coach)