Boise State basketball made another step in the right direction this week by extending the contract of head coach Leon Rice through the 2017-18 season. Rice will receive a $43,000 increase in his salary next season, and will stick around for two more years on the back end of his deal. The deal will also give Rice a three percent raise annually through 2018.
Rice is being rewarded by Boise State for completely turning around their program after a short number of years. Since taking over the Broncos three years ago, Rice has led his team to relevancy in the difficult Mountain West Conference. Boise State has had two consecutive 20-win seasons under rice, and the Broncos made it to the first round of the NCAA tournament this year before being eliminated by La Salle.
This season was Boise State’s first ever at-large birth to the NCAA tournament, and Rice has positioned Boise State basketball near the level of Boise State football with local fans. Attendance to basketball games is the highest it has been in 10 years, partly because Rice has won 50 games faster than any coach in school history.
Where do the Broncos go from here? Up. With Rice as their head coach for at least the next six years, there’s no telling what the underdogs from Boise are capable of. I mean, once a Cinderella, always a Cinderella, right?
John Engel is a Pac-12 basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.