NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – For the Rutgers Board of Governors, giving men’s basketball coach Steve Pikiell a two-year contract extension was a slam dunk.
The board unanimously voted Friday to reward Pikiell for guiding the Scarlet Knights to their most successful season in more than a decade in a meeting that lasted about three minutes from roll call to adjournment.
Twelve members of the Board of Governors voted via teleconference to keep the 2020 Naismith Coach of the Year candidate signed through the 2025-26 season.
From the 2019-2020 season through 2025-26, the contract stipulates guaranteed compensation of $20 million, plus performance and retention bonuses.
Pikiell is earning $1.7 million this season. He is scheduled to earn $2.2 million, $2.6 million, $3 million and $3.25 in the following four seasons.
In the two seasons just added to his contract, he will earn $3.5 million in 2024-25 and $3.75 million in 2025-26.
“I’m honored to be the head coach at Rutgers,” said Pikiell. “My wife Kate and I are especially grateful for the support our family has received from the university community. Every day this program gets better and that is because of the commitment and hard work of my coaching staff and our student-athletes. I love coming to work and there is much more work to do. Pat Hobbs and Rutgers have made an investment in me, and I intend to do everything possible to provide a return that makes this great University very proud.”
Rutgers has been spending a lot of money recently on its coaches. In December, the university welcomed back football coach Greg Schiano with an eight-year, $32 million deal. In September, head wrestling coach Scott Goodale signed a five-year deal worth $1.25 million.
Like Schiano (in his first tenure) and Goodale, Pikiell has resurrected a slumbering program. After three losing seasons, Pikiell has guided the Scarlet Knights to a record of 18-11 overall and 9-9 in the Big Ten so far this season.
Rutgers has already secured its first winning season since the 2005-06 campaign and is bidding to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991.
Beyond that, he has returned the program to relevancy.
Pikiell enters Tuesday evening’s Senior Night game versus No. 9-ranked Maryland with the Scarlet Knights leading the nation in home victories (17).
Rutgers has sold out a record 10 games at the RAC, including the final nine contests of the regular season. Among the sell-outs were a school-record three double-digit victories over ranked opponents. Over the last three seasons, Rutgers has enjoyed 17 sell-outs at the RAC. The prior 17 sell-outs spanned 11 seasons, from 2004-05 to 2014-15.
Rutgers (18-10, 9-9) was ranked for consecutive weeks in the Associated Press and Coaches Polls in January after last being ranked in the final poll of the 1978-79 season.
“In just four years Steve has transformed our men’s basketball program,” said Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “Our program is excelling on the court and in the classroom. The RAC has been electric this year. This extension ensures that Steve Pikiell will be leading our program for many years to come. I am enormously appreciative of his leadership.”
Despite a young roster that ranks 242nd nationally in experience per Ken Pomeroy, Rutgers has earned its largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent in school history, as well as its largest comeback victory in 24 years, this season.
In addition to its performance on the hardwood, Rutgers has also excelled in the classroom under Pikiell's direction. The program entered the spring semester with a 3.04 cumulative team grade point average. In each of the past three semesters more than half of the roster achieved GPAs of 3.0 or higher. In the most recent Academic Progress Rate release from the NCAA, Rutgers achieved a 984, the fourth highest score among the 14 Big Ten Conference men’s basketball programs.
It's been a long road to college basketball prominence – and the financial rewards that come with it - for Pikiell.
Pikiell served as the interim head coach at Wesleyan University during the 1995-96 season, then took a assistant jobs at Central Connecticut State and George Washington.
As head coach at Stony Brook, he earned the 2016 America East Conference Coach of the Year and led the Long Island school to six postseason appearances in his final seven seasons before leaving for Rutgers.
The extension also provides for a retention bonus of $300,000 payable July 1, 2025, if the 52-year-old coach remains employed by Rutgers through that time.