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Tuesday, April 03, 2007 | Men's Basketball
SIU's Chris Lowery Signs Contract Extension
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University men's basketball coach Chris Lowery has agreed to a seven-year, $750,000 per-year contract extension, the school announced Sunday. In three seasons as head coach, Lowery has guided the Salukis to a 78-26 record and extended the school's consecutive string of NCAA Tournament appearances to six, including a Sweet 16 berth this past season.
"I am flattered by the University's offer, and it's desire to keep me as head coach," said Lowery from Atlanta, where he is attending the Final Four. "I'm also extremely grateful for the support of our fans and alumni. Working together, our future remains very bright."
Out of 336 Division I schools, Southern Illinois is one of only 12 to appear in each of the last six NCAA Tournaments.
"Southern Illinois is a special place, and our leaders have bold plans for the future," Lowery said. "I feel there are no limits to what our men's basketball program can accomplish."
Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said the contract sends a strong message about the University's commitment to keeping the 34-year-old head coach, who has been the youngest head coach in the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years.
"Our basketball program is not only a vital part of the athletic department, it's also a critical component of the University as a whole," Moccia said. "Given Coach Lowery's track record as a head coach, we felt it was essential to retain him. It gives our athletic program and our University the opportunity to expand their horizons."
In the past six years, Saluki basketball has recorded the eighth-most wins (155) in Division I. It also has the best home-court winning percentage (79-3, .963) in the nation during that span.
Lowery said the program has not yet peaked and credited Moccia for his leadership and vision.
"Mario and I share a common belief that this program can continue to grow," Lowery said.
Added Moccia, "Chris and I have forged a special relationship. We are aligned philosophically on the importance of developing solid student-athletes. We share a competitive desire to achieve success. And we feel the potential of Southern Illinois University is unlimited."
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