Head men's basketball coach Kermit Davis has agreed to a new seven-year contract to stay at Middle Tennessee through the 2023-24 season. Director of Athletics Chris Massaro made the announcement Friday.
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Davis will receive a raise to a base salary of $575,000 per year with the new deal to go along with $175,000 for radio and television. The new agreement replaces the seven years remaining on his previous contract.
"This new contract clearly shows our commitment to the men's basketball program," Massaro said about the new contract. "Keeping Coach Davis and his staff is our best chance at continued success and growth. We like the direction of the program and believe in Coach Davis' vision.
"I also want to thank a number of our donors who stepped up and contributed to make this possible. They realize the progression of our program and were more than willing to help renew our commitment to Coach Davis."
Davis will be in line to begin his 16th season at the helm of the Blue Raider basketball program when the 2017-18 season tips off in November. He has an all-time record of 307-180 (.630) at Middle Tennessee and has compiled a 154-54 (.740) record over the last six seasons while making three NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT Quarterfinal run.
"I'm very proud to call Middle Tennessee State University our university and also to call Murfreesboro, Tennessee my home," Davis expressed. "I'm honored to be the coach at Middle Tennessee and really appreciate the commitment President (Sidney) McPhee and Chris Massaro have made to increase the national brand of our program."
In the last two seasons, Davis and the Blue Raiders reached back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time in program history and advanced to the second round in both years with wins over No. 2 seed Michigan State in 2016 and No. 5 seed Minnesota in 2017. MT was just the fourth program in the history of the tournament to win back-to-back first-round games as a No. 12 seed or higher.
Middle Tennessee holds 154 total wins over the last six seasons, which is tops in the state of Tennessee and tied for 16th nationally, ahead of perennial powers such as Baylor, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Syracuse and West Virginia. The regular season and postseason success has brought unprecedented amounts of media attention to the program's growing national brand in recent years.
"We are trying to increase our national brand, and to do this we have to have commitment," Massaro added. "The university has upped their commitment, Coach Davis is committed and now we ask our fans, donors and alums to up their commitment.
"If we want to have a big-time basketball program with a national brand, then we need a more robust Blue Raider Athletic Association and we have to fill Murphy Center. When you look at programs we benchmark, like Wichita State, VCU and Butler, those are things that separate us. We had an attendance increase this past season and we appreciate the growth, but we need an even deeper commitment."
In addition to developing players on the court and growing Middle Tennessee's following at Murphy Center, in Murfreesboro, and across the state of Tennessee and the country, Davis has shined at leading his program to a high level academic excellence as well.
"Coach Davis continues to demonstrate his commitment to excellence, both through the performance of his teams on the basketball court and in the classroom," said President Sidney A. McPhee. "His dedication and hard work has built a program that has gained national notice and, in doing so, he has helped elevate the brand of our entire university.
"I am so very pleased that Coach Davis has renewed and strengthened his ties to our True Blue community."
The Blue Raiders are one of just six programs in the nation with a 100 percent Graduation Rate to also win a 2017 NCAA Tournament game, joining the likes of Duke, Kansas, Notre Dame, Villanova and Butler. MT was one of just seven teams to accomplish the same feat in 2016.
This May, Middle Tennessee men's basketball will reach a mark of 52 consecutive players who have exhausted their eligibility to graduate on time when seniors Reggie Upshaw, JaCorey Williams, Aldonis Foote and Xavier Habersham each complete their undergraduate degrees.
"I've never been more energized and excited about the future of Middle Tennessee basketball," Davis added. "We have a lot of hard work ahead of us but look forward to gaining traction at a national level academically, on the court, and in the continued growth of our Blue Raider fan base.
"We feel very good about the direction of Middle Tennessee basketball next year and in future years and are currently back on the road recruiting to continue to build up our program."