Following up on a report from earlier today…
Rutgers University and Steve Pikiell have come to terms on a contract that will keep the head men’s basketball coach courtside at the Rutgers Athletic Center through the 2023-24 season. Introduced as the 19th coach in program history on March 22, 2016 with an initial contract that ran through 2020-21, Pikiell has orchestrated an impressive turnaround while competing in the Big Ten, the nation’s premier athletic and academic conference.
“Steve is doing a fantastic job and it’s our intent to do everything we can to keep him at Rutgers for a very long time,” said Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “There is incredible excitement around our program. We are going to compete with the very best because of Steve’s leadership. Our program could not be in better hands.”
“It’s an honor to be the head men’s basketball coach at Rutgers University,” said Pikiell. “I am humbled by the support of President Barchi and Pat Hobbs, as we work together to build our program and write a great chapter in Rutgers history. It is a very exciting time at The State University of New Jersey. My family and I are thrilled to be part of the Scarlet Knight community.”
From 2018-19 through 2023-24, the contract stipulates a guaranteed compensation of $15.05 million, plus performance bonuses.
The 50-year-old Pikiell enters Wednesday evening’s game at No. 4 Michigan State with a 26-24 overall record at Rutgers, including an 11-6 mark this season. The Scarlet Knights are third nationally in offensive rebounding (14.82), sixth in overall rebounding (42.59), ninth in scoring defense (60.9), 13th in turnover margin (4.6) and 14th in field goal percentage defense (38.1), while ranking among the top three in the Big Ten in 12 statistical categories. On the heels of defeating No. 15 Seton Hall on Dec. 16 before the largest crowd at the RAC in 15 years, Rutgers was honored as the NABC D-I National Team of the Week.
Rutgers issued another strong classroom performance under Pikiell this past fall semester, posting a 2.9 cumulative team grade point average. Three student-athletes earned recognition on the Dean’s List with GPAs of 3.5 and above, while seven achieved GPAs of 3.0 or greater.
A commitment to the community has also been emblematic of Rutgers basketball under Pikiell. On Nov. 5, the program sponsored a charity exhibition that raised $15,000 for American Red Cross Disaster Relief. The day prior, the team hosted a clinic with the Special Olympics New Jersey unified basketball team that will represent the Garden State at the 2018 Special Olympics USA games. This season, the team has also volunteered at Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen in New Brunswick, participated in the SAAC Holiday Toy Giveaway, visited children at RWJBarnabas Health facilities around the state and participated in the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run, which pays homage to the 343 FDNY firefighters, 71 law enforcement officers, and thousands of civilians who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. For the second consecutive season, Rutgers men’s basketball will have 100% team participation in Rutgers Leadership Academy community service initiatives.
Pikiell has assembled and retained a coaching and support staff regarded among the best in college basketball. The four-member coaching staff of Pikiell, associate head coach Karl Hobbs and assistant coaches Brandin Knight and Jay Young have combined for 47 post-season appearances as players, staffers or coaches, including 30 NCAA Tournament berths and two NCAA titles. The coaching and support staff includes six former collegiate players and five former collegiate head coaches.
Pikiell began his tenure in Piscataway with a 9-1 start, the best head-coaching debut in Rutgers men’s basketball history. The Scarlet Knights more than doubled their overall win total in 2016-17, while tripling their conference victory total. Rutgers achieved a plus-117 rank improvement in RPI, as well as major NCAA ranking improvements in rebound margin (+299), scoring defense (+272), three point FG defense (+247), offensive rebounds (+244), rebounds (+232), field goal percentage defense (+226) and blocks (+114). The Scarlet Knights ranked among the top 100 in 10 NCAA statistical categories, including among the top 50 in seven, after ranking among the top 150 in just two statistical categories in 2015-16.
The 2016 America East Conference Coach of the Year, Pikiell led Stony Brook to six post-season appearances over his last seven years in Long Island before arriving “On the Banks.” A two-time team captain at point guard under Naismith Hall of Fame Head Coach Jim Calhoun at Connecticut, he has 27 years of coaching experience, including 13 as a Division I head coach. His career record at the helm stands at 218-179.