Rutgers, Pikiell agree to contract extension

Rutgers University and Steve Pikiell have come to terms on a two-year contract extension that will keep the 2020 Naismith Coach of the Year candidate courtside through 2025-26. In his fourth season, Pikiell has led the Scarlet Knights to their first national ranking in 41 years, first winning season in fourteen years, and most conference victories in 22 years.

“In just four years Steve has transformed our men’s basketball program,” said Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “Our program is excelling on the court and in the classroom. The RAC has been electric this year. This extension ensures that Steve Pikiell will be leading our program for many years to come. I am enormously appreciative of his leadership.”

“I’m honored to be the head coach at Rutgers,” said Pikiell. “My wife Kate and I are especially grateful for the support our family has received from the University community. Every day this program gets better and that is because of the commitment and hard work of my coaching staff and our student-athletes. I love coming to work and there is much more work to do. Pat Hobbs and Rutgers have made an investment in me, and I intend to do everything possible to provide a return that makes this great University very proud.”

From 2019-20 through 2025-26, the contract stipulates a guaranteed compensation of $20 million, plus performance and retention bonuses. Introduced as the 19th head coach in program history on March 22, 2016, with an initial contract that ran through 2020-21, Pikiell previously agreed to an extension in January 2018 that secured his services through 2023-24.

The 52-year-old Pikiell enters Tuesday evening’s Senior Night game versus No. 9-ranked Maryland with the Scarlet Knights leading the nation in home victories (17). Rutgers has sold out a record 10 games at the RAC, including the final nine contests of the regular season. Among the sell-outs were a school-record three double-digit victories over ranked opponents. Over the last three seasons, Rutgers has enjoyed 17 sell-outs at the RAC. The prior 17 sell-outs spanned 11 seasons, from 2004-05 to 2014-15.

Rutgers (18-10, 9-9) was ranked for consecutive weeks in both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls in January after last being ranked in the final poll of the 1978-79 season. The Scarlet Knights’ 18 victories are their most during a regular season in 18 years, since also posting 18 wins in 2001-02. Despite a young roster that ranks 242nd nationally in experience per Ken Pomeroy, Rutgers has earned its largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent in school history, as well as its largest comeback victory in 24 years, this season.

In addition to its enhanced performance on the hardwood, Rutgers has also excelled in the classroom under Pikiell’s direction. The program entered the spring semester with a 3.04 cumulative team grade point average. In each of the past three semesters more than half of the roster achieved GPAs of 3.0 or higher. In the most recent Academic Progress Rate release from the NCAA, Rutgers achieved a 984, the fourth highest score among the 14 Big Ten Conference men’s basketball programs.

In 2018-19, Rutgers was recognized as the nation’s most improved program by Sports Illustrated after improving 71 positions in the Ken Pomeroy ratings, best among all power conference programs. The 2017-18 season saw RU win multiple conference tournament games for the first time in 20 years and rank 17th nationally in both scoring defense and offensive rebounding. 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.

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 29 years of coaching experience, including 15 as a Division I head coach.

This past September, Rutgers Athletics celebrated the grand opening of the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center. The 307,000-square-foot sports facility and parking deck provides state-of-the-art practice facilities, training areas, locker room, film room, NBA scout observation deck and office space for the men’s basketball program, in addition to shared support and public elements. The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center is scheduled to welcome tenants in December.

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