Coach Sless is staying home. The University of New Orleans and head men’s basketball coach Mark Slessinger agreed to a new contract to keep him on the Privateers bench through the 2023-2024 season.
The announcement was made Monday by New Orleans Director of Athletics Derek Morel.
“President Nicklow and I are pleased to reward Mark with a new contract and are excited to have his continued commitment to our university and men’s basketball program,” said Morel. “In his six seasons as our head coach, Mark has consistently demonstrated positive leadership, unwavering resolve and a genuine love for UNO and the city of New Orleans. We thank him for his service and look forward too many great years ahead.”
Slessinger arrived on the Lakefront in 2011 while the basketball program was in transition after an institutional decision to reclassify to Division II from Division I and a sudden reversal of that decision that saw UNO remain DI.
Year six was the breakthrough season for the Privateers under Coach Sless. New Orleans went 20-10 overall and 13-5 in Southland Conference play en route to a regular season and conference tournament crown, earning the program’s first automatic bid to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The Privateers went dancing for the first time in 21 years.
“I am thankful and humbled by this contract,” said Slessinger. “I am continuing to live the dream working at the University of New Orleans. Our staff has worked tirelessly to help us graduate 95% of our seniors and win championships. To see how far our program has come in six years is a testament to our student-athletes and staff.”
UNO was the only Louisiana representative in March Madness and Slessinger received coach of the year honors by the Southland Conference, Louisiana Sportswriters Association, NABC and the Louisiana Basketball Coaches Association.
“My family and I are blessed to be a small part of this incredible renaissance of our university under the leadership of our President Dr. Nicklow and athletics department with Mr. Morel,” said Slessinger. “I am grateful to them for allowing me to be a part of the great faculty, students and staff that make up our university family.”
The Bloomington, Indiana native was also honored with the Eddie Robinson Award by the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. The award goes to a sports figure who embodies the attributes on the legendary Grambling State football coach – excellence in athletics, academics, sportsmanship and citizenship.
The Privateers will open the 2017-2018 season in New York City versus St. John’s on Friday, November 10. The full schedule will be released at a later date on UNOPrivateers.com.