Comings & Goings: Pitino, Dixon Extended; Sean Kearney FiredPosted by rtmsf on April 1st, 2010
The biggest coaching news today had to do with a couple of extensions of existing contracts. First, Louisville extended Rick Pitino’s deal through 2017, which would put the historically itinerant coach at 64 should he remain at the school through the life of the contract. He’s already been at Louisville for nine seasons, which is his longest stay in any one place in his career. He will also receive a $3.6M loyalty bonus on Friday as part of the new deal. The other extension went to Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, who had been rumored to have received an offer from Oregon earlier this week. His extension will keep him at Pitt through the 2018 season, and we don’t see any chance he leaves the situation he has there short of one of the major players calling (Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, etc.). Meanwhile, George Mason’s Jim Larranaga, riding a 12-year winning season streak, also received an extension from his school through the 2016 season. The all-time leader in wins at GMU, he’ll have plenty of time to put together another opportunity for a run in the Tournament.
New St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin believes that the NCAA Tournament is in the near-future of his program with 94% of its offense returning next season from a team that was 17-16 and made the NIT. He expects to recruit nationally and is hoping to hire an all-star staff of east coast guys to help with recruiting. One name that he’s hoping to bring on board in an advisory capacity is former Purdue great Gene Keady, the coach who gave Lavin his first job. At least one columnist believes that the reason Lavin (and UTEP’s Tim Floyd) are working again is because of their visibility.
Quick trigger in mid-majorville, as Holy Cross fired its head coach Sean Kearney after a single 9-22 season. The AD said that the dismissal was an affirmation of how important basketball is to Holy Cross. So… Billy Gillispie can get two years at Kentucky, but Kearney only one at HC? Seems ridiculous, but there’s probably more behind the scenes to this than just wins and losses.
Two major names announced today for the NBA Draft: Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney and Kentucky’s Daniel Orton. Delaney, the ACC first-teamer who led the league in scoring this year at 20.2 PPG will test the waters to see what his options are. As of now, he is not considered a serious prospect, but that may change based on his workouts. Orton only averaged 3/3 in 13 minutes per game for the Wildcats playing behind DeMarcus Cousins, but scouts still like his 6’10, 255-lb frame and his ‘upside,’ whatever that means.