ORONO, Maine — University of Maine men’s basketball coach Ted Woodward has received a contract extension through the 2015 season.
Woodward, currently in his eighth season as the head coach at Maine after serving as former coach John Giannini’s assistant coach-recruiting coordinator for eight years, was in the final year of his contract.
Giannini left to become the head coach at LaSalle University (Pa.) and Woodward was named the school’s head coach in August, 2004.
Maine athletic director Steve Abbott said Woodward will continue at his current salary of $100,000 per year.
The 48-year-old Woodward has led the Black Bears to back-to-back top-three finishes in America East for the second time in 20 years. Maine finished third each year.
Maine has gone 20-12 in conference play the past two years and 34-26 overall.
Abbott said he was delighted to keep Woodward at Maine.
“First of all, Ted runs such a solid program,” said Abbott. “He has brought terrific young men to the campus and provided them with an outstanding experience in all aspects of college life.
“Athletically, our teams have been very competitive and they have also done very well in the classroom and around campus.
“It has been a model program in that respect,” added Abbott.
The Maine athletic director called Woodward an “outstanding teacher” and noted that he is “very involved personally” in his players’ development on and off the court.
“That’s very important to us,” said Abbott.
Abbott noted that the last two-plus seasons have been impressive and he believes the program has shown “definite progress” and is going in the right direction.
“He has had a great combination of strong senior leadership with exciting new players,” said Abbott. “You look at this year’s squad and you have a team of outstanding seniors along with the energy they’ve received from the freshmen. He’s built a strong team and laid the foundation for the future as well. He has also put together an outstanding coaching staff.”
“I am very grateful to President [Paul] Ferguson and Steve Abbott for the opportunity to continue leading the men’s basketball program at Maine, and for their continuing outstanding support for all of our Black Bear programs,” said Woodward. “We will continue to work hard to have our program represent the university and the state with great character, class and achievement.”
Woodward’s two consecutive winning seasons in America East play — 9-7 last year and 11-5 two years ago — mark the first time Maine has had back-to-back winning seasons in league play since the Black Bears went 15-3 in 1999-2000 and 10-8 in 2000-2001.
Maine finished 15-15 overall last year but the season was highlighted by road wins at Penn State, which made the NCAA Tournament after finishing as the Big Ten Tournament runner-up; the University of Massachusetts, which was 7-1 at the time; and the University of Vermont.
It was Maine’s first win at Vermont in six years.
Maine beat Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College two years ago.
Before the 2009-2010 season, the Black Bears’ last previous winning season in league play occurred during the 2003-2004 season (12-6).
Woodward will take an overall record of 97-125 into Friday afternoon’s game at Brown University.
Two years ago, when Maine went 19-11 overall to go with its 11-5 league record, Woodward was chosen as the America East Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com.
He was also a finalist for the prestigious Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award given to a successful Division I coach who also exhibits strong moral character.
Abbott said Maine’s wins over Penn State, Boston College and UMass have proven that “we can compete at a very high level.”
Before coming to Maine in 1996, Woodward had spent five years as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut State University after serving as an assistant at the University of Connecticut from 1986-89.
During his seven-plus seasons as the head coach at Maine, Woodward has graduated 20 of 21 seniors.
The Suffern, N.Y. native, who received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bucknell University and a master’s in education with an emphasis in sports administration from the University of Connecticut, is also a sitting member of the NCAA Division I Issues Committee and the University of Maine Athletic Advisory Board.
Maine had been playing virtually all of its home games at the multi-purpose Alfond Arena, which is used by the men’s and women’s basketball and hockey programs, but thanks to Woodward’s direction, seven of the men’s 14 home games (including an exhibition game) have been moved back to the Memorial Gym.
The gym and field house are going to be renovated and Abbott is hoping the work will be completed by 2014.
That will mean the Memorial Gym will become the permanent home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
“Ted has been one of the leaders in trying to get basketball back in the Memorial Gym and I’m delighted he’ll have the opportunity to see that dream come to fruition,” said Abbott.