Heath Receives Contract Extension

FAYETTEVILLE -- Both Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath and UA athletic director Frank Broyles said Tuesday they were pleased with a recently arranged one-year extension to Heath's contract, which now will run through April 30, 2010.

Heath originally signed a five-year deal with Arkansas, and it has now been rolled over by one year after each of his first three seasons.

"It's something my family and I are grateful for, and appreciative of," Heath said. "It's a good sign that coach Broyles is still committed to our program, and it gives us more incentive to work even harder."

Arkansas has posted records of 9-19, 12-16 and 18-12 under Heath, improving each year, although last season ended with five losses in the final six games.

"We feel Stan has made adjustments in his staff since then, and we wanted to extend his contract," Broyles said.

After former UA assistant Rob Flaska became head coach at Centenary following last season, Heath hired former head coach Bill Herrion, who then took the New Hampshire head coaching job about a month later.

Heath then hired Dan Hipsher, a former head coach at three schools, most recently at Akron.

"We talked about it, and we wanted a coach with some head coaching experience," Broyles said. "Dan Hipsher was a great fit for us. He brings experience, a lot of basketball knowledge and discipline."

Broyles added, "Anybody in coaching knows the value of experience. It's what I looked for when I hired assistant coaches like Joe Gibbs and Johnny Majors at Arkansas, and it's what Houston Nutt did when he hired (defensive coordinator) Reggie Herring."

Heath's contract will continue to bring him $772,943 annually, in addition to $71,000 per year in a tax-deferred annuity.

Broyles raised some UA fans' eyebrows when he did not move to roll over Heath's contract immediately after last season, as he had done quickly after Heath's first two seasons, and also when he gave Heath a questionnaire and suggestions about the UA basketball program.

On Tuesday, Heath downplayed the significance of those actions.

"Every year, coach Broyles sits down with each coach," Heath said. "We sit down and evaluate. There was talk about it being a written evaluation, but that's not out of the norm for us. We agreed we needed to make some changes. We both have the same passion for the good of this program. I didn't close my mind to his thoughts at all."

Heath has already taken advantage of Hipsher's 29 years in coaching by asking him to help with Arkansas' schedule for next season, which should be finalized soon.

"It's a tough schedule," Heath said. "Last year we were criticized for not having a difficult schedule, but this year's schedule will surely be in the top 20 for difficulty."

The schedule includes three games in the Maui Classic, Nov. 21-23, with Arkansas opening that tournament against Connecticut and then playing the Arizona-Kansas winner.

"Any team that wins two games in Maui should be in the Top 15 the next week," Heath said. "We have an experienced team, our players have had a good summer and we're looking forward to the season."

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