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Stony Brook extends Steve Pikiell's contract

Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell looks on

Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell looks on with seconds left during a game against Albany at Pritchard Gymnasium. (March 3, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Coming off his fourth 20-win season and fourth postseason berth in five years, Stony Brook men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell on Wednesday received a one-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season, the school announced.

The extension maintains Pikiell's contract at the full five years allowed under SUNY system regulations, and it underscores the school's commitment to its ninth-year coach as the Seawolves prepare to move into 4,000-seat Stony Brook Arena when it opens in the fall after a $21.1 million renovation project.

"We want to make sure Steve remains our coach as long as possible," interim athletic director Donna Woodruff said. "We're committed to him because he's committed to the right kind of basketball program at Stony Brook.

Woodruff described Pikiell as "the face of the program" at Stony Brook.

"He recruits the right kind of student-athlete, and he continues to produce a winning program," Woodruff said. "He's the right person to lead our program for sure."

With a 107-56 record over the past five years, three regular-season America titles and three appearances in the conference tournament championship game, Pikiell has been approached by other schools to leave, but chose to remain at SBU.

The Seawolves had the most overall wins in the conference for the second straight year, and return a nucleus that includes America East player of the year Jameel Warney. A talented recruiting class includes guard Deshaun Thrower, who was Mr. Basketball in Michigan.

"We had another 1.000 APR [Academic Progress Rate]; everyone is graduating," Pikiell said. "I'm proud of where the program is, and I think we're getting better. I'm excited about the new arena . . . Stony Brook is just blowing up. Not just academically, but with the hospital renovation, we're doing a lot of things. We're at an exciting time as a university."

The one goal that so far has eluded Pikiell is the school's first NCAA Tournament berth thanks to losses in the conference title game three of the past four seasons.

"Everybody understands that is the next step," Woodruff said. "It's what everybody is trying to get to, and we're like everybody else. It will come because of all the good things that Steve and the players and the staff are doing."

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