Proactive Move

The final horn had barely blown on West Virginia's outstanding run through the NCAA basketball tournament when the worriers and rumormongers began sounding their seemingly never-ending alarms.

‘We're going to lose John Beilein,' these people bleated. ‘WVU won't be proactive.' ‘Virginia will offer him more money.' ‘Who wouldn't rather live in Charlottesville than Morgantown?' And on and on.

Despite all those gloomy forecasts, it now looks as if West Virginia University and athletic director Ed Pastilong made all the right moves to keep Beilein and his staff at the state's flagship institution. Pastilong announced today the extension of Beilein's contract through the 2011-12 season, with a commensurate increase in salary. Beilein will be paid $700,000 for the 2005-06 season, and receive a $20,000 raise each year through the final year of the contract, meaning that his base salary will be $820,000 for the 2011-12 season.

Perhaps even more surprising than the raise itself is the speed at which the deal was done. Beilein and the Mountaineers didn't even get home until late Sunday evening, meaning that the specific were worked out in less than four days – warp speed in these days of protracted negotiations and drawn-out talks. The timeframe shows that both sides wanted the deal to happen, and should do a great deal to quell any speculation about Beilein's possible departure.

"I am so pleased we were able to extend our relationship with Coach Beilein, and I know this will be good news to all of our fans across the state and indeed the nation," WVU president David C. Hardesty Jr. said in a prepared statement. "Coach Beilein's work ethic and values align so well with those of West Virginia and WVU. We feel the fit is just perfect.

"I want to thank Coach Beilein for his commitment to West Virginia. John is a man of integrity, class, great talent, vision and superior intellect. We could not have a finer teacher and ambassador than John Beilein."

In addition to reaching the Elite Eight, Beilein led the Mountaineers to 24 victories, a school-record eight wins over nationally ranked teams and a runner-up finish in the BIG EAST championship.

"I am very pleased with the progress of our men's basketball program, and I'm excited about the future of Mountaineer basketball under the leadership of John Beilein," said Pastilong. "This new agreement recognizes the job John has done at WVU, which clearly establishes him as an outstanding national coach."

"It's an honor for me and my coaching staff to continue our relationship with West Virginia University," says Beilein. "I'm very grateful that WVU has given my staff this opportunity and we hope that our success will continue."

The new deal also includes incentives similar to those in Beilein's previous contract. Although exact terms of those incentives were not disclosed, they include bonuses for items such as attendance, team grade point average, Big East championships, and advancement to various levels of the NCAA tournament. Beilein and his staff also share in the income from summer basketball camps. The value of those incentives could push his total compensation to the $1 million per year level.

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