Mick Cronin of UCLA received a two-year contract extension

As a reward for UCLA’s return to the Final Four, Mick Cronin received a two-year contract extension.

The contract extension will be worth a guaranteed $ 4 million a year.

Additional years will keep Cronin under contract through the 2026-27 season after leading the Bruins to their deepest NCAA tournament since 2008.

The 11th seed UCLA won five games before losing to Gonzaga in the 40 meters in overtime buzz in the national semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Bruins (22-10) finished 7th in the USA Today national coaching rankings after entering the NCAA tournament unrated and in a string of four defeats.

“In less than two years in Westwood – through seasons disrupted by a global pandemic – Mick has brought UCLA men’s basketball back to the right place among the national elite,” said UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond. “His leadership has given Bruin Nation a program he is proud of, encouraging alumni and fans around the world, and that’s just the beginning.

“This enlargement represents the stability and commitment needed to achieve the long-term vision that Mick and I share. The future is bright. “

The extension includes a salary in each year equal to that Cronin will earn in the last year of the original contract. Cronin, who will turn 50 in July, signed a six-year contract worth $ 24 million after hiring in April 2019, nearly doubling his previous salary in Cincinnati.

“I am extremely grateful to the chancellor [Gene] Block and Martin Jarmond for the opportunity to continue running the UCLA program, ”said Cronin. “I love being at UCLA. The commitment of our players over the past two seasons has been helpful, especially as we have faced some unusual challenges during the global pandemic. ”

The media selected him for eighth place in the Pac-12 during his first season, Cronin’s team took a 8-9 start, including home losses to Hofstra and Cal State Fullerton. Cronin was juggling his starting lineup and the team responded with a win in 11 of their last 14 games before the season was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UCLA finished second in the Pac-12, one game behind Oregon, and Cronin was named Pac-12 coach of the year by a vote of his conference colleagues.

Predicted to win the Pac-12 last season, UCLA started 12-2, including eight consecutive conference game wins. But the defeat by Stanford on the inbound pass of the buzzer began the part in which the team dropped three of the four games.

Junior striker Jalen Hill left the team in early February, announcing this week that he suffers from anxiety and depression. Senior keeper Chris Smith was lost for the season with a knee injury on the last day of 2020, and promising net keeper Daishen Nix never stepped onto campus after opting for the G League during one college season with the Bruins.

It seemed like UCLA could turn into the preseason after giving up four straight games – all after losing late leads – to put themselves at risk of missing out on an NCAA tournament. The Bruins were one of the last teams to be selected, which required a first-four game against the state of Michigan.

After trailing by 14 points in the first half, the Bruins came together to beat the Spartans in overtime, the result of a return to a stifling defense that made Cronina the most victorious active coach under 50. It was the start of a series that will include wins over second-placed Alabama and first-placed Michigan.

The team could return largely intact next season, even after Hill’s withdrawal from basketball. Smith and other guard Johnny Juzang are considered intriguing NBA prospects, but could come back to boost their chances of being selected in the first round of the draft.