Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal reported on Monday that Ed Cooley and Providence are working on a contract extension. Cooley’s current contract runs through 2021 after a previous extension following the 2012-13 season. Cooley’s original contract signed in March of 2011 was for a term of six years with the extension in 2013 lengthening it for another four. With nothing finalized and Providence’s propensity for not releasing contracts or their details, the length of this latest extension or the surrounding terms are unclear as of this publishing. McNamara’s article quoted Providence’s latest tax filing from 2013-14 that showed Cooley’s total pay that year to be $1.5 million. It should be noted that the total figure likely includes bonuses for winning the Big East Tournament and making an NCAA Tournament appearance in March of 2014. Providence’s fiscal year is July 1-June 30.
Providence has certainly stepped up their support of the men’s basketball program under Father Brian Shanley’s watch as the College’s President since July 1, 2005. The emergence of Fr. Shanley, who received a third 5-year term as President of Providence College in June of 2014 that will bring him through June 30, 2020, has breathed new life into Providence Athletics. Athletic Director Bob Driscoll and his staff, especially Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve Napolillo, have done a tremendous job on the fundraising side. Fr. Shanley’s vision combined with Driscoll’s and Napolillo’s tenacity and enthusiasm have blended to make a very successful tenure in Friar athletics. Cooley bringing the winning back to the Friar basketball program has certainly helped. The team atmosphere and camaraderie among those in the athletic department at Providence is also fairly evident.
Reporting around Cooley’s 2013 extension indicated that Cooley’s average salary over the term of that deal was expected to be $2 million per year. This is just my own speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that this extension deals more with money inside the program and less with raising Cooley’s own pay. He certainly has earned a raise with the school’s second ever Big East Tournament championship in 2014 that started a streak of three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, culminating in the school’s first win in the big tournament since 1997 when this year’s Friars defeated USC in thrilling fashion in the First Round.
But, even with all of the things that Cooley has added to his own resume since his last extension in 2013, my guess is that he will be looking to add more guaranteed charter flights, grow the pool of money he has to pay his assistant coaches and perhaps even give him money/flexibility to add staff positions in addition to the ones currently occupied by Jeff Battle, Brian Blaney, Kevin Kurbec, Andre LaFleur and Ivan Thomas. This could be a way for Cooley to add someone like God Shammgod to the payroll without having to wait for one of the other established spots to open. It also gives him added flexibility down the road to bring people on board that can help the program.
This seems like a good time to go back and watch Cooley’s introductory press conference from March 2011:
This is a video Providence Athletics put together in September 2011:
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