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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Northern Iowa coach agrees to 10-year deal


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, got Rhode Island's Orion Outerbridge to go for a fake in last night's NIT quarterfinal.

JUSTIN COOK | Associated Press

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa After leading Northern Iowa to the biggest win in school history, coach Ben Jacobson is sticking with the Panthers.

Northern Iowa and Jacobson have agreed to a new 10-year deal that includes a substantial pay raise, athletic director Troy Dannen announced yesterday.

The agreement will increase Jacobson's annual salary to $450,000 starting next season, with annual raises of $25,000 throughout the length of a deal that runs through 2020.

"I appreciate the continued support from our administration, community and student body. I'm thrilled to sign this new deal," Jacobson said in a statement. "The University of Northern Iowa is a special place made so by great people."

Jacobson's old contract paid him $289,300 per year and ran through 2016. Northern Iowa said that no public funds will be used to fund the increase in the new agreement.

"We could not be more proud to have Ben Jacobson continue to lead our men's basketball program well into the future," Dannen said in a statement released by the school. "Ben is not only one of the top young coaches in the nation but he's also a great educator and mentor."

Jacobson, 39, is in his fourth season as the head coach at Northern Iowa and has won back-to-back Missouri Valley Coach of the Year honors. He served as an assistant under Greg McDermott at Northern Iowa for five seasons, taking over when McDermott left for Iowa State in 2006.

Jacobson led the Panthers to an NCAA tournament berth in 2008-09, and this season Northern Iowa (30-4) caught everyone's attention by stunning top-seeded Kansas, 69-67, in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The team will play Michigan State (26-8) in the Midwest Region semifinals in St. Louis tomorrow night.

ELSEWHERE

BARBEE TO COACH AUBURN

Auburn hired Tony Barbee as basketball coach last night after he led UTEP to the regular-season Conference USA title and the NCAA tournament.

Barbee will replace Jeff Lebo, fired the day after a first-round SEC tournament loss. Barbee led UTEP to a 26-7 record this past season but the Miners lost 77-59 to Butler in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"Coach Barbee has a vision of competing for championships at Auburn, and the passion to get us there," athletic director Jay Jacobs said. "He is a phenomenal coach, an outstanding recruiter and a fierce competitor."

Auburn will introduce the 38-year-old Barbee at a news conference today. The Tigers, who haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 2003, move into $92 million Auburn Arena next season.

FORDHAM HIRES COACH

A person close to the situation told The Associated Press yesterday that Tom Pecora has agreed to become the basketball coach at Fordham.

Pecora coached Hofstra the last nine seasons, compiling a 155-126 record that included four 20-win seasons and three NIT appearances.

Fordham finished 2-26 last season, 0-16 in the Atlantic 10. Former coach Dereck Whittenburg was fired five games into the season, his seventh at Fordham. Interim coach Jared Grasso finished the season.

NIT QUARTERFINALS

RHODE ISLAND TOPPLES VIRGINIA TECH, 73-72

Delroy James scored 18 points, Lamonte Ulmer added 13, and the No. 3-seeded Rams (26-9) took the lead for good, 73-71, on a jumper by Keith Cothran with 2 minutes left en route to beating the No. 1-seeded Hokies, 73-72, at Blacksburg, Va., last night.

Rhode Island advanced to the the NIT semifinals for the first time since 1946. The Rams will play defending national champion North Carolina on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

DAYTON MAKES IT TWO ATLANTIC 10 IN SEMIS

Chris Johnson scored 18 points and the No. 3-seeded Flyers (23-12) opened a 16-point lead before holding off a late rally by the No. 1-seeded Illini (21-15) at Champaign, Ill., giving the Atlantic 10 Conference two of the four teams remaining in the tournament.

The Flyers joined conference rival Rhode Island in the semifinals. Dayton will play Mississippi on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

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