AD: Deal shows LSU's 'belief in what she's doing'

SHREVEPORT, La. -- LSU women's basketball coach Pokey Chatman, who has led the Lady Tigers to two straight appearances in the NCAA Final Four, has a new four-year contract worth about $400,000 a year, school officials announced Friday

The LSU Board of Supervisors approved the new deal at its meeting Friday in Shreveport, LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said.

The new contract pays Chatman $250,000 in base salary plus an additional payment for television, radio and internet appearances. The latter sum will start at $135,000 next season and increase to $180,000 by the 2008-09 season.

Chatman took over for longtime coach Sue Gunter during the 2003-04 season after Gunter left the team for health reasons.

"Pokey has stepped in and taken our women's basketball program to heights never reached before," Bertman said. "Her leadership abilities, both on and off the floor, along with her recruiting talent continue to make LSU one of the top women's programs in the country."

Women's basketball has enjoyed increasing support in Baton Rouge.

In 2004-05, LSU ranked 10th nationally in home attendance, averaging over 7,300 fans per game, including a record 15,233 for the victory over Tennessee on Feb. 10.

The Lady Tigers were 33-3 last season.

"This contract shows our belief in what she's doing and what she will do in the future for women's basketball at LSU," Bertman said.

Chatman, who was on a recruiting trip Friday, declined comment through an LSU spokesman.