Tulsa retains AD Bubba Cunningham

TULSA, Okla. -- Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham has agreed to a contract extension, bringing an apparent end to his courtship to take the same job at Kansas.

University president Steadman Upham said Thursday that Cunningham was staying. Terms of the new contract weren't disclosed.

Cunningham has been in charge of the Golden Hurricane program since October 2005, and he was reportedly the top candidate to take over for Lew Perkins at Kansas.

Upham cited a "great partnership" with Cunningham and said in a statement that he is confident Tulsa will "continue to build on our remarkable momentum and national visibility" under Cunningham.

Upham and Cunningham didn't return telephone messages left Thursday.

In his time at Tulsa, Cunningham has overseen a renovation of the football stadium and a new athletic complex, plus new facilities for rowing, golf and softball.

A person with direct knowledge of the search process had told The Associated Press on Wednesday that final contract details were being worked out between Kansas and Cunningham, who had emerged as the top choice by a search committee headed by businessman and former Kansas athlete Ray Evans.

Tulsa's announcement that Cunningham is staying sends the committee back to square one in its quest to replace Perkins, who retired under pressure in September, a year earlier than he had planned.

Jack Martin, deputy director of university communications, said Kansas had no announcement planned.

"Since the process started, we have not talked about any of the speculation," Martin said Thursday. "When we have an athletic director to announce, we'll do that. But until then we'll have no comment."