Saturday, April 18, 2009

He's Back!

This will disappear off the ISU front page pretty fast, so I'm putting it here for a little while...

O’Brien Signs New Three-Year Deal

Looks to continue his successful run through the 2011-12 season

Pocatello, ID --- Idaho State University Interim Director of Athletics Jeff Tingey has announced the men’s basketball coach Joe O’Brien has been signed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him prowling the Bengal sidelines through the 2011-12 season.

O’Brien, the second-longest tenured coach in the Big Sky behind only Northern Arizona’s Mike Adras, has not suffered a losing season in three years in Big Sky play, going 25-23. Those 25 Big Sky wins were the most over a three-year period for Idaho State in the last 32 years, and ISU’s home sweep of the Montana schools was the first since 1996 for the Bengals.

Idaho State has qualified for three straight conference tournament appearances under O’Brien, including a pair of semifinal showing in each of the last two years. Idaho State also picked up a signature win this year, beating Utah 72-68, an eventual five-seed in the NCAA tournament. O’Brien’s teams have had several close calls on the road over the years as well, including overtime losses to Brigham Young and Marquette, and a two-point loss last year at Wisconsin. Last year Idaho State went 12-19, playing the nation’s toughest non-conference schedule, as 12 of their 14 opponents qualified for the postseason.

“We are excited to have Coach O’Brien back for another three years here at ISU,” said Tingey. “Joe has brought in a talented group of student-athletes that have brought some excitement back to the men’s basketball program. I am confident that in the next few years, under Coach O’Brien’s leadership, the team will earn a conference championship as well.”

O’Brien will face another tough schedule next year with road games at Utah, Brigham Young, Utah State, South Dakota State, and Notre Dame, plus a few more that are just awaiting signed contracts.

"We are very excited to have both a new contract and the opportunity to continue the work we started three years ago. I feel we have grown as a program and I know I have grown as a coach,” said O’Brien. “Next Fall our first recruiting class will be seniors, and they have some "unfinished business" they want to come back and take care of. Our program has made some positive strides the past three years. Obviously, the next step is to take this experienced group and compete for a conference championship."

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