Extended run: Richard Pitino gets two years added to contract

After a season of questions about whether his job might be in jeopardy, Richard Pitino led the Gophers men’s basketball team to a first-round victory in the NCAA tournament this season.

That was good enough to get him a contract extension.

The University of Minnesota announced Sunday that Pitino has agreed to a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2023-24 season. The agreement is subject to approval by the Board of Regents and will pay Pitino $12.3 million ($2.46 million average) over the next five seasons. Pitino made an average of about $2.2 million a year in his previous contract.

The 35-year-old Pitino is 112-91 in six seasons at Minnesota. That includes a disappointing 40-70 record in the Big Ten. But Pitino has guided the Gophers to the NCAA tournament in two of the past three seasons, including this year, and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year two seasons ago.

The Gophers went 22-14 this season, including 9-11 in the Big Ten, and opened the NCAA tournament with a victory over Louisville before losing to Michigan State in the second round in Des Moines, Iowa.

 My family and I have loved living in the Twin Cities the last six years,” Pitino said in a statement. “We have met so many wonderful, supportive people. It’s an honor to be able to continue to lead this Gopher basketball program. I enjoy working with my athletics director, Mark Coyle, every day. I would like to thank Mark, President Kaler, and the university for continuing to believe in me. I look forward to continuing to move this special program forward.”

The university did not provide details of Pitino’s contract extension. His current salary was $2.2 million annually. Pitino’s name was brought up in rumors regarding the Arkansas opening in recent days and that certainly could have played a role in this extension.

“I am excited for Coach Pitino to continue to lead our men’s basketball program,” Coyle said in a statement. “Coach Pitino has developed All-Big Ten players, led deep runs into the Big Ten tournament and earned the school’s ninth-ever NCAA tournament win this year. I look forward to him advancing the program further in the upcoming years.”