UC Irvine men’s basketball coach Russell Turner, who led the Anteaters to the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament for the first time in school history, has received a new five-year contract that will extend through the 2019-20 season.
Turner, who was hired as UCI’s head coach in April 2010, signed an extension in November 2013 that will be superseded by the new contract.
Turner, who is entering his sixth season at UCI, led the Anteaters to the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in March. UCI, seeded 13th, narrowly fell to No. 4 seed and three-time national champion, Louisville, 57-55, in an NCAA Second Round game in Seattle March 20.
Turner guided the ‘Eaters to the program’s first Big West Conference Tournament title in March as UCI defeated UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and Hawai’i in the league tourney at the Honda Center.
UCI was 21-13 overall last season and the Anteaters have won 65 games under Turner over the last three years, including 35 victories in Big West games.
“We are excited that Russell is remaining with the UC Irvine basketball program,” Athletics Director Mike Izzi said. “His considerable efforts and contributions have led our program to historical success, and he has elevated our basketball program into the top echelon of the Big West Conference and one that is competitive on the national level.
“Russell and his staff have recruited student-athletes of high character who are exceptional representatives of the university and the community. Under Coach Turner’s leadership, the UCI program has attracted a great deal of interest from the campus, community and throughout the nation,” Izzi added.
The ‘Eaters have advanced to the postseason each of the last three seasons: NCAA in 2015, NIT in 2014 and CIT in 2013.
UCI is consistently one of the top defensive teams in the nation and set a school record last season with an average of 62.1 points allowed, lowest in school history. The Anteaters have won 48 of their last 50 games when holding the opponents to 60 points or less.
Fifteen of Turner’s UCI players have earned All-Big West Conference honors in the last five years, along with two “Best Defensive” and two “Best Hustle” awards. Will Davis II was named the 2015 Big West Tournament MVP.
Turner was named Big West and NABC District 9 Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading UCI to a 23-12 overall record, including 13-3 in league games for the Anteaters’ first conference regular-season title in 12 years. The 23 wins tied for the second-most in program history.
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