AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn has given basketball coach Bruce Pearl a five-year contract extension after the program’s best season in years.
Pearl led the Tigers to a share of their first Southeastern Conference regular season title since 1999 last season despite having two top players ineligible. The extension announced Monday runs through the 2022-2023 season.
“It was a historic season for Auburn basketball and one that was matched by excellence in the classroom as well,” athletic director Allen Greene said.
Auburn went 26-8 and snapped a 15-year NCAA Tournament drought, beating College of Charleston in the first round. Only the 1998-99 team won more games.
Pearl is set to make $2.6 million this year with a $100,000 annual raise. The five-year total not counting bonuses will be $14 million.
Pearl faced questions about his job security all season despite the on-court success. Before the season, Auburn fired associate head coach Chuck Person, who is facing federal charges as part of a probe into corruption in college basketball. The NCAA ruled center Austin Wiley and forward Danjel Purifoy ineligible last season after their families allegedly accepted money funneled through Person to steer them toward a financial advisory after they turned pro.
Pearl is poised to have another strong team next season.
Wiley is eligible while Purifoy must sit out part of the season. Wiley and guards Jared Harper and Bryce Brown all opted to return after exploring their NBA draft status.
Second-team All-SEC guard Mustapha Heron also withdrew from the draft. But St. John’s announced Monday that Heron is transferring to play for the Red Storm. The school said Heron plans to apply for a hardship waiver to be eligible next season.