University of Richmond basketball coach Chris Mooney and the school agreed to a two-year extension, Mooney said Saturday night.
Mooney, in his 16th year at UR, was working under a deal that runs through the 2021-22 season. This contract extension takes him through 2023-24, so he is under contract for the next four seasons.
“This was such a crazy spring and summer that I just appreciate that we were able to work through it,” said Mooney, 48. Both sides were interested in an extension as last season was abruptly ended in mid-March by the pandemic.
“When it came time, and our students were back on campus, and things seemed more stable, then we were able to address it,” Mooney said. “It was pretty simple, and I’m very excited.”
The Spiders come off one of their finest regular seasons in program history. They went 24-7 (14-4 A-10), and then college athletics shut down prior to UR playing a postseason game. Richmond was in position to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011. The Spiders return all five starters from that team, and each is a senior.
“With [Mooney’s] continued leadership, I believe that we are on track and heading in the right direction to building and maintaining a championship-caliber program at Richmond,” John Hardt, UR’s vice president and director of athletics, told The Times-Dispatch during the summer. “Chris embodies the positive characteristics that I value in a head coach, and he does a great job leading the Spider basketball program and supporting our student-athletes. He understands the University of Richmond and supports our educational values and mission.”
UR, a private school, does not share information regarding coaches’ compensation packages. Mooney’s annual income from Richmond has been about $1.1 million, according to the latest IRS forms available. That puts him in line with other experienced A-10 coaches.
Mooney’s situation now is quite different from mid-February of 2019, when an electronic billboard located next to one of the Richmond area’s busiest interstate highways displayed this message sponsored by an anonymous group: “SAVE RICHMOND BASKETBALL. #FireMooney UR Alumni & Spider Fans.”
Richmond was in the midst of its second consecutive 20-loss season, and afterward, Mooney said, “We recognize that there’s a standard for Richmond basketball that we have not met. We need to play well and have our play result in success.”
A program with nine NCAA appearances and two trips to the Sweet 16 (1988 and 2011) resurrected, with the $15 million Queally Athletics Center, a basketball-support facility, scheduled to open next month.
“We both recognize the positive momentum created by last season’s success and the added excitement of the new [facility] coming on-line this fall,” Hardt said. “We have a terrific opportunity to elevate the basketball program’s level of success.”
From the Class of 2021, Richmond received oral commitments in June from John Marshall point guard Jason Nelson, who’s 5-foot-10, and 6-4 Malcolm Dread, a senior at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. Nelson was a first-team All-Metro pick and the Class 2 state player of the year last season. The signing period starts in November.