Kowalczyk receives extension through 2017Written by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Toledo athletic director Mike O’Brien announced on May 17 that head basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk has received a contract extension through the 2016-17 season.
“I’m very honored and appreciative of the confidence and faith President Lloyd Jacobs and Mike O’Brien have displayed in me with this contract extension,” Kowalczyk said. “We look forward to building this program the right way with high-character student-athletes who graduate and compete for championships.”
The third-year head coach’s deal was scheduled to end in 2015 before the extension. He will make $340,000 next season and will receive an extra $15,000 for every additional year he is on staff.
Kowalczyk took over the coaching job in March 2010 with a roster fresh off of setting a school-worst record of 4-28. The 45-year-old coach chose to bring in mostly transfers who had to sit out their first season, which, combined with injuries, led to another 4-28 season in 2011. With the transfers in the lineup in 2012, however, the Rockets posted the second-best win improvement in the nation (15 games) going 19-17 and advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, winning their first postseason game since 2001.
Toledo’s chances of winning a postseason game for the second straight year, however, were dashed in April as the NCAA announced that the Rockets would be banned from postseason play due to a new rule regarding low academic progress rate (APR) scores.
UT has challenged the NCAA’s process of determining the APR, partially because the number is determined by the total of the last four years, not including the most recent season. With the Rockets needing to have an average APR higher than 900, not even Kowalczyk’s 939 in his first season could offset the low APR from previous coaches Gene Cross (813, 896) and Stan Joplin (826). In April, Kowalczyk also said his team had a 962 APR through the fall semester of this season and was expecting an even higher total at the end of spring.
“Tod has done a tremendous job turning around our basketball program in a short time,” O’Brien said. “His emphasis on academics and making sure our student-athletes graduate has helped our program begin to put our APR issues behind us. On the court, he guided us to a 15-win improvement last year that ranks among the best in the country. We’re very happy to make this commitment to coach Kowalczyk and look forward to many more years ahead with him as our head basketball coach.”
The Rockets appear to have a bright future under Kowalczyk with their current roster. This season the team saw sophomore forward Rian Pearson emerge as a Mid-American Conference Player of the Year candidate, while guard Juice Brown was named the league’s Freshman of the Year.
Kowalczyk was 136-112 in eight seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay prior to taking the job at Toledo. His team averaged a 954.4 APR over that span as the coach of the Phoenix.