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No place like home: Schaefer signs extension with Mississippi State

 

Vic Schaefer signed a contract extension with Mississippi State after carrying the Bulldogs to back-to-back appearances in the national championship game.

Vic Schaefer signed a contract extension with Mississippi State after carrying the Bulldogs to back-to-back appearances in the national championship game. Photo by: Jim Lytle/Special to The Dispatch

 

Adam Minichino

 

 

STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State and its women's basketball program have reaped unprecedented rewards under the leadership of Vic Schaefer. 

 

On Monday, MSU rewarded Schaefer for his work with a new four-year contract that will pay him a total base compensation of $6,384,000. 

 

"It confirms to us we're in a great place," Schaefer said Monday night while on the road recruiting. "We had a vision six years ago when we decided to come here, but we also knew to make that a reality we couldn't do it by ourselves. We had to have the support of an administration that wanted women's basketball to be relevant. Women's basketball has become very important and very relevant at Mississippi State, more so than at most universities across the country, so for us, it confirms we are in the right place." 

 

Schaefer will be paid $1,584,000 in 2018, $1,550,000 in 2019,  

 

$1,600,000 in 2020, and $1,650,000 in 2021. He will receive a $375,000 retention bonus if still employed as MSU's head coach on June 1, 2021. 

 

Last September, Schaefer re-signed a four-year contract that earned him a raise and made him one of the 10 highest paid women's basketball coaches in the nation. 

 

For perspective, South Carolina's Dawn Staley received a four-year contract extension after winning the national championship in 2017 season. The deal made her the highest-paid women's basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference. Staley made $1.45 million last season. It is unclear if Schaefer's new deal makes him the SEC's highest-paid coach. 

 

Schaefer led MSU to its second-consecutive trip to the national championship game last season. Notre Dame defeated MSU 61-58 on Arike Ogunbowale's 3-pointer in the final seconds on April 1, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. South Carolina defeated MSU 67-55 for its first national title on April 2, 2017. 

 

Schaefer earned Naismith Coach of the Year honors for leading MSU to a program-best 37-2 finish in 2018. The Bulldogs won the program's first SEC regular-season title and led the nation in victories. 

 

MSU's success helped Schaefer earn recognition as The Associated Press' SEC Coach of the Year. Schaefer also received that award from the SEC coaches. The Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the United States Basketball Writers Association also named Schaefer their National Coach of the Year. 

 

Schaefer has credited the work of associate head coach Johnnie Harris and the rest of his coaches since he arrived at MSU. He again praised Harris, Dionnah Jackson-Durrett, Elena Lovato, who recently returned to MSU to take the place of Carly Thibault, Maryann Baker, and Skylar Collins for helping make him feel like the "luckiest coach" in the nation. 

 

"It certainly is very humbling," Schaefer said. "I am very appreciative. We recruit and I hire a staff in much the same manner. It is all about a fit for us. Not everybody can play for us at Mississippi State because of how we play the game. I don't think there is any doubt we play the game a lot differently than a lot of teams across the country. It is the same thing with how we work. My staff is tireless. They are incredible professionals who are tireless workers who are committed to the program, our university, and our student-athletes. They are also committed to doing it our way and with the right way mentality." 

 

MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said Schaefer has set the tone and helped make the Bulldogs one of the nation's top programs. 

 

"Coach Schaefer has elevated our women's basketball program to an elite level," Cohen said in a statement released by the school. "His student-athletes' achievements in the classroom and on the court have set a standard of excellence. We look forward to seeing our national coach of the year on the sidelines for a long time to come."  

 

MSU opened the 2017-18 season with a program-best 32 victories en route to earned its first No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament. The winning streak was the second-longest mark in SEC history. 

 

The Bulldogs also completed the regular season 30-0, which marked the first time a league team achieved that feat in 20 years. 

 

MSU also posted the first undefeated season at Humphrey Coliseum in men's or women's basketball history, tallying an 18-0 mark in front of a record attendance total. MSU finished sixth in the nation in attendance (133,906) and eclipsed 100,000 at the Hump for the first time. 

 

In addition to ranking in the top 25 nationally in scoring defense, (56.4 points per game), MSU scored a school-record 3,164 points and was 11th in the country in scoring average (81.1 ppg.). 

 

MSU has also posted the second-best field goal percentage in school history (46.8 percent) and set single-season program standards for rebounds (1,158), 3-point percentage (38.9 percent), assists (602), and fewest turnovers (421). 

 

Off the court, MSU followed a record 3.40 fall grade-point average with a 3.44 mark in the spring. 

 

"We are excited about continuing our quest of winning SEC and National Championships and extending the success of recent years," Schaefer said in a statement. "I convey my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to my dedicated and talented staff, to my high achieving student-athletes and to the enthusiastic fan support of Bulldogs across the country. I also want to thank Dr. (Mark) Keenum and Mr. (John) Cohen for their trust, confidence and continued support of our women's basketball program. My highest priority is to continue the precedence that we have established through recruiting quality student-athletes, maintaining the highest of personal conduct, integrity and performance standards, graduating our student athletes, and bringing national prominence to this great University and to the Bulldog Nation.  

 

"Holly, Blair, Logan and I are proud Bulldogs, and we appreciate what MSU has done for our family." 

 

Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor

 

Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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