INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Brad Stevens is content to keep coaching the Butler way.
The 33-year-old coach, who came within a buzzer-beating shot of winning the NCAA men’s basketball championship, signed a 12-year deal Thursday that extends through the 2021-22 season.
Team spokesman Jim McGrath declined to say how much the deal was worth, though Stevens had a total compensation package of $750,000 last season. Athletic director Barry Collier acknowledged Tuesday that Stevens was in line for a pay raise.
The Bulldogs got the man they wanted to stay.
“Brad has demonstrated that he’s the right fit for Butler University,” Collier said in a statement. “Our program has grown under his leadership, and we’re excited about our future under his direction.”
Stevens is expected to answer questions at a news conference Friday morning.
The move should end, at least temporarily, speculation that Stevens would jump to a BCS-conference school. Jobs at Oregon, of the Pac-10, and two ACC schools, Clemson and Wake Forest, are open.
But Stevens had said Tuesday that he would speak with Collier, a Butler alum and former head basketball coach, before entertaining thoughts of leaving.
Collier never gave Stevens, one of college basketball’s best young coaches, a chance to reconsider.
“Tracy and I are thrilled and very thankful for the opportunity to continue to play a role for Butler University,” Stevens, referring to his wife, said in a statement. “We are already looking forward to the 2010-11 season.”
Stevens just completed the most successful season in school history.
The Bulldogs won a school-record 33 games, set the Butler mark with a 25-game winning streak and became the only Division I team to finish with a perfect conference record this season.
Butler reached the regional semifinals for the third time since 2003 and advanced to the title game by upsetting Syracuse, Kansas State and Michigan State. The Bulldogs lost to Duke on Monday night in the closest title game in two decades.
Along the way, Butler went from virtual unknown to household name, and Stevens’ exposure made him the hottest person on the coaching carousel.
But Stevens has never followed the conventional road. He has produced the school’s only two 30-win seasons and is 89-15 in three seasons with the Bulldogs. The 89 victories are a national record for coaches over their first three seasons. Stevens was also the Horizon League coach of the year each of the past two seasons.
So the Bulldogs hoped they wouldn’t have to make a change. Butler has now answered one of the two biggest questions it faced this offseason.
The other question is whether sophomore swingman Gordon Hayward will leave early for the NBA. That answer might not come until next week, at the earliest, but the Bulldogs are hoping that Stevens’ return will sway Hayward to come back.
“We’re continually trying to do everything we can to improve our program, and we’ll continue to do that,” Collier said.
With Stevens leading the way.