April 11, 2006
RENO, Nev. - The University of Nevada will recommend a new five-year contract for Wolf Pack Head Men's Basketball Coach Mark Fox to the Nevada State Higher Education Board of Regents, Director of Athletics Cary Groth announced Tuesday.
The new contract will run from July of 2006 through June of 2011.
"We are extremely pleased to reach this agreement with Mark Fox. He has done a great job in furthering the success of the University of Nevada basketball program on the court and in the classroom, and I look forward to seeing his continued accomplishments in the coming years," interim University of Nevada President Joe Crowley said.
In his two seasons at the helm of the Nevada program, Fox has compiled a 52-13 record and is the first coach in school history to turn in back-to-back 20-win seasons. He has led the Wolf Pack to back-to-back Western Athletic Conference regular-season championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. He also has been named the Don Haskins Coach of the Year by his peers in the conference in each of his two seasons in Reno.
In 2005-06, Fox's squad turned in a 27-6 overall record, which was just one victory shy of the single-season school record, while the Wolf Pack won the WAC regular-season title and the WAC Tournament championship and earned the school's third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Fox reached the milestone of 50 wins faster than any coach in Nevada basketball history.
Fox's contract is expected to be presented for approval at the June Board of Regents meeting.
Comments from Nevada Head Coach Mark Fox
Press Conference - April 11, 2006
"This is a very exciting day for me and my family. We have found a home in northern Nevada and certainly am very much looking forward to sustaining the success of our program and building it even further to try to enrich the tradition of Nevada basketball." On the process of the contract negotiations:
"It's a draining process, I have to admit it. It's been a little bit of an issue in recruiting, but fortunately for us, we've been able to avoid that being too much of a hurdle. It's a very draining process. It's something that when we started in November, I knew right then that we would have to delay it because it just takes so much of your energy and so much of your concentration. I am really pleased that we could put it to bed."
"The most important thing to me is my family; there's no argument with that. I am not going to make enough money to secure my kids forever, but I'll be comfortable, my kids will be comfortable, and we can start saving for college and those kinds of things. This is more about our program than it is about me. I wanted to see our program have a chance to continue to grow. Cary (Groth) has provided the commitment for that to happen."
On the amount of time it took to reach an agreement:
"Cary and I were just too busy. I was gone 10 straight days and our season lasted until the middle of March and we both traveled. We've had several meetings and conversations, but we just haven't been able to be in the same room because, quite frankly, my job is more than these negotiations, and we had some things we needed to get done."
On his players' reaction:
"I haven't talked to our players. Our players understand that there would be some negotiations, and they understand that they come first. They're aware of the situation, but they are not caught up in it. They know that my commitment is to them, and even throughout some of these things mentioned in the spring, I don't think our players were ever concerned. I had a conversation with Nick (Fazekas) about my future immediately after the season, and I think we were able to put that to rest right away. I am pleased now that we can go forward."
On the factors that went into staying at the University of Nevada:
"I never thought I would leave. I never even entertained the thought of leaving. The thought of leaving never entered my mind. There were certainly moments that I didn't think we would get this worked out, but we have, and now we can concentrate on making our team and our program better."
"The money involved was the least important thing to me. The thing that was most important to me is that we are committed to the quest of enriching Nevada basketball. We can't have short-sighted goals. We have got to continue to strive to be better, and that's a huge mountain to climb, but that's a challenge I enjoy and am looking forward to."
On whether talk of building new facilities was involved in the negotiations:
"I don't think that we will build any facilities overnight, but one of the concerns we have is that we are going to have to continue to work to improve our facilities, not just with basketball but with all of our athletic programs. I hope that in the future we can see some progress in that area, but that's not something that happens overnight."
On the things he is looking forward to in the coming years:
"One of the hardest things is to climbing the mountain, and what everyone says is harder is to stay on top. We've been able to do that for two years by defending our championship in the conference. Certainly that's an area where we would like to begin, but this program is much more than just winning. I want to continue to build our graduation rates and our APR (Academic Progress Report) with the NCAA. One of the most rewarding things for me as a coach is the passion that our former players have and how they've remained so close to this team and certainly the passion of this community. Our fan base is terrific, and one of the warmest moments of last season was when we won the league tournament. So many people shared in the joy of that experience, and I want to be able to build that. We are a state institution, and I want to continue to build our fan base in Las Vegas and other areas. There are a lot of fans there, and there is still a lot of development and growth in this program. I am looking forward to hopefully making some of that happen."
On his favorite memories from this season:
"We had a lot of very good moments. I was certainly very proud of our two league championships: in the league tournament and the regular season. The game in the regular season that probably clinched that was the game at Utah State. That was a very proud moment for our program. To win at the University of Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse is something I will always remember, but as I told my team early in the week, one of my proudest moments was just their approach to some of the big challenges that they faced. They were very unselfish, very confident, very driven to do their part to enrich our tradition, and that is probably what I was most proud of."
On his goals for the future:
"We have got to continue to recruit quality student-athletes: young men who will go to school, be good citizens and play with the competitive spirit that we deem necessary. The key to any team is quality of the players, and that really has to be our focal point and how we can assist them in their pursuit while they are here. One of the things that is important to me is the completion of the new academic facility that we are trying to build because that can help not just the basketball players but everybody. We need to continue to make the journey of the student-athlete one that they can travel as far as possible. We have to continue to try and schedule as well as we can so that we can reach the postseason. There are so many things that we want to do to enrich this program, and hopefully when we reach the postseason, we can find the success again."
"What was most important to me was the commitment to our program to sustain the success we've had and then try to increase it. That's a huge challenge, an unbelievable challenge. Many people might run from that, but I am kind of looking forward to it. I think that our players are committed to trying to be better. Some years you are more experienced than others, but I do think that working with a group of young men like I am privileged to do every day is something that I continue to look forward to."