There is going to be a lot of celebrating this week at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
A party on campus for the men’s basketball team, or as the school put it, “our conquering heroes,” was already scheduled for Tuesday night. Now, the school and its fans have even more reason to celebrate after Ryan Odom, the team’s head coach who orchestrated the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history, agreed to new contract terms to remain with the Retrievers, the school announced Monday.
“It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we announce Ryan Odom remaining as the leader of our men’s basketball program,” Athletics Director Tim Hall said in a statement on the UMBC athletics website. “Now, along with us, the nation knows how truly remarkable he is — simply said one of the best head coaches in the country! We are pleased that he will remain on Hilltop Circle and continue to build on the season’s remarkable success.”
Details of the new deal were not announced by the school in the release. Odom signed a seven-year contract that pays $230,000 in base salary in 2016; that per-year total is expected to increase under the new deal.
“I am so proud of our staff and players and it’s been a remarkable journey that we set out on together,” Odom said. “I am grateful to [UMBC President Dr. Freeman] Hrabowski and Tim Hall for their confidence in our staff to continue to lead these young men during their time at UMBC. It’s a great honor to be a part of the UMBC community.”
Odom and his Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament more than a week ago, a victory that hoisted the school and its athletics program into the national spotlight overnight. Odom, in just his second year as a Division I head coach, led UMBC to a 25-11 record, a school record for wins, and its second appearance in the NCAA tournament, during which it defeated top-ranked Virginia.
The Retrievers lost to ninth-seeded Kansas State in the tournament’s second round. Odom will be losing star guard Jarius Lyles, a graduate student transfer, and seniors K.J. Maura and Jourdan Grant from this season’s roster. UMBC had announced last week that it was intending to offer Odom a new long-term contract that would increase his salary. Odom’s name had been reported as a possible candidate for East Carolina’s head coaching job before UMBC’s tournament upset; it was expected that he would draw interest from other programs following that win.
“We need to do within our realm what we can,” Hall said last week of his desire to retain Odom. “We obviously can’t do what the Power Five schools can do, or anything near that. I think at some point Ryan wants to do it on a bigger stage. I’m just hoping it’s down the road instead of now.”
Odom served as an assistant coach at several stops before his first job leading a program, including a stint as interim head coach at Charlotte. He was the head coach for Division II Lenoir-Rhyne for the 2015-16 season before leaving for UMBC.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is hosting a reception at the Maryland State House on Monday night to honor the team, which will also be celebrated at an event on the UMBC campus on Tuesday night.
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