Coach Rodney Terry, who has breathed some life into the Fresno State men's basketball program by upgrading the talent level while also improving its performance on the court and in the classroom, received a three-year contract extension on Monday that runs through the 2018-'19 season.
"I'm excited for our staff, for the direction of our program and the players that we have playing for us right now, I'm excited about where I live and being a part of this community, and I'm excited about just continuing to take a step forward," Terry said.
"I feel like we're just scratching the surface here, we really are. We made huge step in terms of competition from the time I got here going from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West, and they're not going anywhere, but it also helped us raise our talent level at a quicker pace than we probably would have had we stayed in the WAC. We were able to go and sell an opportunity to play in one of the best leagues in the country and be a part of building something special here."
The Bulldogs went 13-20 in Terry's first season, including 11 losses by six or fewer points, and finished seventh in the WAC. They were 11-19 in 2012-'13, their first season in the Mountain West, with another six losses coming by six points or less.
Last season, Fresno State went 21-18 and finished 9-9 and in fifth place in the Mountain West after a 1-7 start to conference play. It marked the first time the Bulldogs had won 20 or more games and participated in a postseason tournament in seven years, reaching the championship series of the College Basketball Invitational.
Paul Watson was selected as the Mountain West Freshman of the Year and Tyler Johnson (second team) and Marvelle Harris (honorable mention) were on all-conference teams.
The Bulldogs also posted an Academic Progress Rate score of 980 for 2012-'13 -- a high point for a program that has in the past had some of the lowest scores across all Division I sports.
"Rodney has very impressively transformed the program," Athletic Director Thomas Boeh said. "On the floor in making us competitive again, but at the same time we had a record Academic Progress Rate. He's developed a very good culture within the program and they are now poised to start to make a move to challenge for positions at the top of the league.
"The remarkable thing is that, in one year in the WAC and then going into one of the nation's tougher leagues, we've still been able to make real progress."
The extension does not include a bump in salary -- Terry's contract is worth $350,000 a year, which ranks toward the bottom half in the conference -- but it does call for a salary review in 2015.
The contract also includes performance bonuses for APR, annual team grade-point average, graduation rate, as well as winning percentage, a conference championship, participation in the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament, final national rankings and individual coach of the year honors.
"The most important thing was that our community and the basketball community know that Rodney is solid and is contracted now through 2019. He's a good coach, a real good coach. Rodney has done it methodically and he's done it the right way. There were no short cuts here," Boeh said.
Terry gave credit to his staff, which includes assistants Michael Schwartz, Byron Jones and Kenton Paulino.
"I think my staff deserves a lot of credit -- they've worked extremely hard," Terry said. "I have a really good group of guys that I work with every day. I know when we first got this job we knew how challenging it was going to be for us from an academic standpoint and where we were and also from an athletic standpoint in terms of the level of play that we had at the time.
"I think our staff has done a great job of targeting character guys that have a chance to be good players, and I think we're building with that in mind."
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