Rice played for legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, part of the 1989-90 UNLV Runnin' Rebels squad that won the NCAA men's basketball championship. Rice was also a member of the 1990-91 UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball team that went 34-1 and advanced to the 1991 Final Four. He earned his bachelor's degree from UNLV in 1991 and an MBA in 1993, and was a Rhodes scholar candidate.
After graduating from UNLV, Rice began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach for Jerry Tarkanian during the 1991-92 season. That team finished 26-2 and was #7 in the final AP poll.
Rice spent the 1992-93 year as an assistant coach at Claremont High School for his father, Lowell Rice. Claremont High School finished 21-7 and won the Baseline League Championship.
For the 1993-94 season, Rice became an assistant coach at Chaffey Community College. The 1993-94 Chaffey team finished with a 32-6 record and advanced to the California Community College Final Four.
Rice returned to UNLV for the 1994-95 season as an assistant coach for Tim Grgurich. He spent 10 seasons at UNLV under head coaches Grgurich, Bill Bayno and Charlie Spoonhour. During that time UNLV made six post-season appearances, won a Mountain West Conference regular season conference title (2000) and two conference tournament titles (WAC in 1998, MWC in 2000).
Rice left UNLV for Stew Morill's staff at Utah State University when UNLV hired Lon Kruger. Rice spent 2004-05 at Utah State. The Aggies finished the season 24-8, won the Big West conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Rice became an assistant at BYU under Dave Rose in 2005. He was named Associate Head Coach at BYU in 2008. Rice spent six seasons at BYU. During that time, BYU won four regular season championships, made the NCAA Tournament five times and the National Invitational Tournament once. The 2009-10 BYU team finished 30-6 and advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. The 2010-11 BYU team finished 32-5 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. That team also featured Jimmer Fredette, who was the National Player of the Year. Rice left BYU after he was hired to replace Kruger at UNLV in 2011.
Dave Rice was the head coach at UNLV for four full seasons (2011–16). During that time, Rice compiled a 98-54, ranking him third all-time in wins at the school. Rice won 51 games his first two seasons which was the most in the first two seasons by a UNLV head coach. During his time at UNLV, Rice won 10 games against teams ranked in the Top 25. Marquee wins included a 90-80 victory over #1 North Carolina on Nov. 27, 2011 in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational, and #3 Arizona 71-67 on Dec. 23, 2014.
Rice also had two players selected in the first round of the NBA draft including the #1 overall pick in 2013, Anthony Bennett and the 2015 #17 pick, Rashad Vaughn.
In the 2015-16 season, UNLV started 7-1 including wins over ranked opponents, Indiana and Oregon. But after losing five of his last six games, and an 0-3 start to conference, Rice resigned as the Runnin’ Rebels head coach on January 10, 2016, and was replaced by interim coach Todd Simon.
Rice joined Eric Musselman's staff as an assistant coach at the University of Nevada on April 27, 2016.
Rice was instrumental in Nevada's 28-7 Mountain West Regular season championship as well as its Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship, catapulting it into the NCAA Tournament. The Wolf Pack lost to #5 seed Iowa State in the first round, 84-73
Newly named Huskies head coach Mike Hopkins hired Rice as an assistant coach on April 4, 2017.
Rice and his wife, Mindy, established the Dave Rice Foundation in the spring of 2012. The foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and support of health initiatives including developmental disorders such as Autism, and other charitable causes. It has awarded over $600,000 in grants to various Autism-related organizations in Southern Nevada.