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Amaker announces he's staying at Harvard

3/29/2014

Though he hinted that it wasn't exactly a fait accompli, Tommy Amaker will be staying in Cambridge.

"After thoughtful deliberation, I continue to realize my heart is at Harvard," Amaker said in a statement released by the school Saturday. "To teach, lead and serve at this amazing institution, and in this special community, is truly meaningful to me."

Amaker's name had been floated in connection with other high-profile openings, including one across town at Boston College.

Because he has an ACC pedigree (playing for and coaching with Mike Krzyzewski at Duke), experience at high-major institutions (at Seton Hall and Michigan) and a record of success on the court and on the recruiting trail, and because he wouldn't even have to move in order to take the BC job, Amaker was a logical candidate for the Eagles.

But in the end, Amaker decided to stay with the Crimson -- the team he has led to six straight wins over BC.

Harvard athletic director Bob Scalise praised Amaker as "a great leader, a great coach and a great educator."

"He is an inspiration to many in the Harvard community," Scalise said in the statement. "We are excited he will continue to lead our men's basketball program."

In seven seasons as the Crimson coach, Amaker has overseen a transformation from perennial Ivy League also-ran to powerhouse. The Crimson have won four straight Ivy titles, including a share of the title in 2010-11 and outright titles the past three seasons, and played in the NCAA tournament in three straight seasons.

After they upset No. 5 seed Cincinnati in a second-round matchup this season, the Crimson have won NCAA tournament games in back-to-back seasons. Prior to those wins, Harvard had never won an NCAA tournament game.

Amaker is 139-71 overall at Harvard, including a 67-31 mark in Ivy play, and has led his team to 20-plus victories in five straight seasons -- the first Ivy team to do so since Penn had a run of six consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins from 1970 to 1975.

Though the Crimson lose key veterans Kyle Casey, Brandyn Curry and Laurent Rivard to graduation this season, Amaker returns a strong core for 2014-15.

Point guard Siyani Chambers, star guard Wesley Saunders (Ivy Player of the Year in 2013-14) and big man Steve Moundou-Missi will all be back, meaning three-fifths of the starting five will remain in place as Amaker & Co. chase a fifth straight Ivy League crown.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.