Pitt signs Steve Pederson through '18

Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson has signed a five-year contract extension that runs through at least 2018, the school announced on Tuesday.

The news comes less than a month before Pitt officially joins the ACC on July, 1 along with Syracuse -- a move that helped solidify Pederson's tenure.

"Just two years ago, during a period of significant conference instability, Steve was a driving force in helping us to find the best possible conference home," Pitt chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said in a statement. "When we received an invitation to join the ACC, Pitt not only had the chance to move to an outstanding athletic conference but also became aligned with some of the nation's most prestigious academic institutions. The ACC is a perfect fit for the University of Pittsburgh, and our receipt of their invitation reflects well on both our overall institutional strength and on the tremendous progress made in Pitt athletics under Steve's guidance.

"As we begin this exciting new era of ACC competition, we all have high aspirations for each of our programs," Nordenberg said. "The creativity, strength and stability of Steve's continued leadership will be an important asset as we pursue those lofty goals."

ACC commissioner John Swofford said Pederson has already made an impact in the conference.

"Pitt has a terrific asset and leader in Steve Pederson," Swofford said in a prepared statement. "He's one of the most experienced and respected athletics directors in the country and he's already made a positive and prominent impact around the ACC table."

Pederson is entering his 13th year at Pitt. During his initial Pitt tenure from 1996-2002, Pederson hired six Big East Conference Coach of the Year honorees, in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, track and field and volleyball, an unprecedented achievement by a Big East athletic director. He recently hired Suzie McConnell-Serio as women's basketball coach and hired football coach Paul Chryst in December 2011 to help bring stability to a program in desperate need of it.

"This is an exciting time to be at the University of Pittsburgh," Pederson said. "I am fortunate to work with this great staff and together we are helping to guide each of our student-athletes as they aspire to excellence academically, athletically and personally. I appreciate the confidence the Chancellor has in our ability to keep Pitt athletics moving forward."