Chasing its first back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in more than 40 years, Rutgers has agreed to a four-year contract extension with men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell, the school announced Friday.
Pikiell, who has the Scarlet Knights at 18-13 following an 84-74 loss to Iowa in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday, is now signed through the 2029-30 season and is set to make another $16 million under the deal, including performance and retention bonuses.
Entering Friday, ESPN's Joe Lunardi had Rutgers as one of the "Last Four Byes" for the NCAA tournament. If the Scarlet Knights are selected for the field of 68, it would be their first return trip to the tournament since 1976, when they reached the Final Four. Rutgers lost to Houston in the second round of last season's tournament.
"I love it here," Pikiell said in a statement. "Rutgers has embraced me and my family since day one, and there is no other place I want to be. [Athletic director] Pat Hobbs and President [Jonathan] Holloway share in my vision to make this a program that everyone can be proud of, and I am thankful for their leadership. ... It is an honor to be the head coach at Rutgers and to do it in the toughest conference in college basketball. I look forward to continuing the hard work to bring RU a national championship."
Rutgers became the first unranked program in NCAA history to beat four consecutive ranked opponents, defeating then-No. 13 Michigan State, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 12 Illinois in February. The Scarlet Knights earned their first-ever win over a No. 1-ranked team, topping Purdue on a buzzer-beater at Jersey Mike's Arena in December.
Their 12 conference wins were their most since joining the Big Ten, earning them the No. 4 seed in the tournament and a double bye. They have posted three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1988-91 in the Atlantic 10.
Rutgers is 98-90 under Pikiell, who previously coached at Stony Brook for 11 seasons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.