Butler rewards Brad Stevens with 12-year deal

Butler coach Brad Stevens, who led the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament final, has agreed to a contract extension through the 2021-22 season, the school announced.

"[My wife] Tracy and I are thrilled and very thankful for the opportunity to continue to play a role for Butler University," Stevens said in a statement. "We are already looking forward to the 2010-11 season."

That means Stevens, 33, is out of the running for current head coach openings. including the well-paying one at Oregon.

Pat Kilkenny, who is heading up the search for a new coach, left the Final Four without Stevens and spoke to the Indianapolis Star about the courtship:

"One of the reasons he's a special young man is his loyalty," Kilkenny said Thursday, having returned to Eugene from Indianapolis on Wednesday. "He has a very strong connection to Butler."

Kilkenny, the former Oregon athletic director, spoke with Stevens three times by telephone Tuesday, the day after the national title game. But he never believed he was close to getting Stevens. There was never a solid offer, but Kilkenny made it clear, he wanted Stevens to listen to Oregon's pitch.

"He was our guy," Kilkenny said. "But I always felt like it was an uphill battle. We were obviously very interested in him, but we needed to sense that he was interested in us, too. I'm not sure that was there."

Butler now gets a chance to make another championship run with Stevens at the helm next season, knowing he chose to stay and was loyal to the Butler Way.