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Memphis, Pastner agree to contract extension

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis men's basketball coach Josh Pastner has agreed to terms on a contract extension.

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The length of the extension and financial terms weren't disclosed when the announcement was made during a Wednesday afternoon press conference featuring Pastner and athletic director Tom Bowen. School officials said it could be several weeks before the details are complete and the agreement approved by all parties.

Bowen simply said that Pastner ``will remain our basketball coach for a long time.'' Bowen said the negotiations began several months ago, but rumors swirling around Pastner accelerated the university's desire to get the contract resolved.

``It was important because Josh became a national topic as far as a bright, bright young coach who's had an extraordinary year. This team had an extraordinary season,'' Bowen said. ``I've been in the business a long time, and I know it's time to lock your coach down and make sure nobody can have a chance to put some temptation in front of your coach.''

Pastner acknowledged he was aware of talk about other potential jobs, and vaguely indicated informal discussions.

``Part of the business is people, when you've done a good job, your name is going to be thrown around,'' Pastner said.

Pastner owns a 106-34 record and has led Memphis to three NCAA tournaments in four seasons.

The new contract comes after the Tigers finished the season with a 31-5 record and earned their first NCAA tournament victory in Pastner's four-year tenure. Memphis defeated Saint Mary's 54-52 on Thursday before being ousted by Michigan State 70-48 two days later.

The success caused Pastner's name being linked to openings, including the vacancy at Southern California.

``I wasn't worried about other programs,'' Pastner said. ``My focus was Memphis. I'm the coach at Memphis. I was the coach at Memphis and that's where it's at.''

Pastner took over the program in 2009 after John Calipari left to become head coach at Kentucky. Pastner had no head coaching experience at the time. He had served as an assistant at Arizona before his one season on Calipari's staff at Memphis.

Pastner recalled Wednesday there were only five players under scholarship when he took the job. Pastner said he had to beg players in other sports to come play basketball. He signed D.J. Stephens, who became a star for the Tigers this season, sight unseen.

A manager drove Pastner around his first three weeks on the job because he was trying to do so much that he was falling asleep.

``Now, we've got continuity and the expectations are going to increase, and there's nothing wrong with that,'' Pastner said.

Memphis moves from Conference USA to the soon-to-be-renamed Big East next season.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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