ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- University of New Mexico Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs has announced that head men’s basketball coach Craig Neal, who became the first rookie coach in school history to lead the Lobos to the NCAA Tournament, will receive a two-year contract extension.
Neal, whose original contract was for five years and ran through the 2017-18 season, will now see his contract run through the 2019-20 season. The financial terms were not changed.
“We are excited about the direction of the program under Craig’s leadership, and we are glad that he wants to be here at the University of New Mexico,” said Krebs.
“I’m thankful to Paul, President Frank and the administration,” said Craig Neal. “We have a tremendous program here at New Mexico, with an unbelievable facility and great fans. Having raised my children here in New Mexico, I’m excited to be the coach here, and I’m excited for our future as a program.”
In his first year as the head of the program after six seasons as the associate head coach, Neal led the Lobos to a 27-7 record, including a 15-3 mark in the Mountain West, and a 2-2 record against Top 25 programs. Neal’s 27 wins is tied for the 12th-most in NCAA history for first year head coaches.
He also led the Lobos to a third straight Mountain West tournament title, becoming the first program to ever win three straight. Neal was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Joe B. Hall Award for the nation’s top rookie coach, and one of 15 finalists for the Jim Phelan Award for national Coach of the Year.
Known throughout the nation by his nickname “Noodles”, Neal played collegiately at Georgia Tech before playing with Miami, Portland and Denver in the NBA. He then served as a scout and an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors before moving to Iowa for three seasons as Associate Head Coach.