Chris Mooney, head coach of the University of Richmond men’s basketball team, has agreed to a two-year contract extension that will run until the spring of the 2023-24 basketball season. Mooney was working under contract until the 2021-22 basketball season before his extension.
Mooney led the Spiders to a 24-7 (14-4 in Atlantic 10 Conference play) record, before college athletics were abruptly halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. UR was widely considered a team that could be selected for the NCAA tournament, which would have been its first time participating in the tournament since 2011.
Mooney has worked at UR for the past 15 years, and he boasts the most wins as a coach in UR men’s basketball history. With last season’s success, UR appears to be heading in the right direction when it comes to creating and maintaining a successful basketball program.
“Contract length is always an important point with recruits and their parents,” Mooney said. “The prospect wants to envision playing for the same coach for his entire career, and it’s important to show that commitment.”
Star point guard and senior Jacob Gilyard sees Mooney’s contract extension as a way to maintain coaching continuity, which is ultimately something that will help recruiting, he said.
“You want to make sure the coach is going to be there all four years,” Gilyard said. “It’s something you definitely want as a player.”
John Hardt, UR’s vice president and director of athletics, and Mooney were both interested in discussing a contract extension after the 2019-2020 season ended, but talks were delayed as UR administration was focused on planning for the fall 2020 semester.
In the past, fans believed Mooney should not maintain his head coach position because of the team’s lack of winning. Some fans were so frustrated at the men’s basketball record that in the spring of 2018, they bought a billboard off Interstate 95 with the message #FireMooney.
Gilyard, however, has always backed Mooney, he said.
“A couple years back there was the whole billboard thing or whatever; we talked about it, and I’ve always wanted to let him know that I’m there for him and that the team is there for him,” Gilyard said.
Contact sports writer Marco Consuelo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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