VCU restructures, extends contract of men's hoops coach Wade

Mar 29, 2016 - 8:39 PM RICHMOND, Va. (AP) VCU likes the job Will Wade is doing as men's basketball coach, and the school wants to keep him around.

The school has restructured Wade's contract, set to run through the 2020 season, and extended it through the 2024 season. It also enhanced the deal to boost salaries and provide for upgrades for recruiting, the team's travel and meals, athletic director Ed McLaughlin said.

The contract, which is not yet signed, has a value of $750,000 and will be funded entirely with private money, McLaughlin said.

Wade, 33, received a five-year contract when he was hired last April.

The Rams finished 25-11 this season and in a three-way tie for the Atlantic 10 Conference title with Saint Bonaventure and Dayton. VCU ended a three-game losing streak in NCAA Tournament play when it beat Oregon State in the first round this year, then lost 85-81 to Final Four team Oklahoma in the second round.

Wade, whose contract called for him to make $1 million this season, also earned more than $200,000 in performance bonuses, and his success made him a likely person of interest for programs seeking a young coach to inject some life into their program.

''It's a good thing when other people want the people that you have because it means they're doing a good job, but I don't know if it ever gets easier when you wake up Easter morning and you see people talking about your head coach being other places, but I also knew Will wasn't going anywhere,'' McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said he began looking at ways to enhance compensation for Wade and the program during the season. The enhancements agreed upon, he said, are in keeping with what other top 25 programs are doing, he said, and his expectations continue to be that the Rams succeed like a top program.

''I certainly think we are a program that could and should be in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament,'' he said.

The Rams have played in the Atlantic 10 championship game in each of their four seasons in the league, winning it in 2015. They are one of just eight schools to have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past six seasons, and one of just two, along with Kansas, to have won 24 or more games for 10 straight seasons.

This year, they did it after losing Treveon Graham and Briante Weber to graduation, having their top freshman transfer and all three recruits who signed when Shaka Smart was the coach decide to go elsewhere after Smart resigned to take the same job at Texas.

''For us to be able to put our season together and grow during the season like we did, I think he did a tremendous job,'' McLaughlin said.

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