It's a good week to be young and coaching college basketball. While Butler's Brad Stevens (34) and VCU's Shaka Smart (34 next week) are preparing their teams for the Final Four in Houston, Tiger coach Josh Pastner (33) has signed a contract extension that will pay him a cool $1.7 million annually to help chart the course for a Memphis return to the NCAA tournament's final weekend. The extension runs through the 2015-16 season, when Pastner will still be shy of his 40th birthday.
"We are delighted that Coach Pastner has accepted our contract offer and will remain as our basketball coach for years to come," said Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson in a press release. "He is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting young coaches in the country, and we anticipate continued growth for our basketball program.
"Josh has proven himself to be an outstanding coach and recruiter," Johnson stated. "He has also demonstrated that his values and principles, pertaining to life off the basketball court, mirror those we expect of our student-athletes. Coach Pastner's leadership qualities are exemplary, and we are pleased that he has chosen to remain with the Tiger program."
Over his first two years at the helm of the Memphis program, Pastner has led the Tigers to a record of 49-20. An inconsistent regular season this past winter was all but forgotten when the Tigers reeled off three straight wins in El Paso to win the 2011 Conference USA tournament. The U of M battled highly ranked Arizona (Pastner's alma mater) to the buzzer before falling in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Today's announcement followed news Sunday that Atlantic 10 power Xavier has been added to the Memphis schedule for the next two seasons.