Kentucky extends Matthew Mitchell

Updated: May 3, 2012, 5:46 PM ET
Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky's Matthew Mitchell signed a seven-year extension Thursday, putting him among the highest-paid coaches in women's college basketball.

The deal runs through the 2018-19 season. Mitchell is guaranteed at least $7.7 million in salary and endorsements, before performance-based incentives, over the life of the contract.

"He has high expectations for everybody, not the least of which himself," Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said. "He expects great things and that's why you want him leading your program, and that's why we're fortunate."

The fifth-year coach is 114-56 with the Wildcats. The school has been to three straight NCAA tournaments, setting a school record, and two regional finals in the past three years. Kentucky won its first SEC regular-season championship last season.

"This is an incredible thing that's happening," Mitchell said. "As you look around, there's not a whole lot better places than this. For me, I'm just saying, at a young age I got an incredible opportunity to come to a place where we knew we could have a chance to get it to this spot. So now (my wife) Jenna and I don't have any desire to bounce around the country."

Mitchell was an assistant coach at Kentucky from 2003-05 and was the head coach at Morehead State from 2005-07. He began his career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 1999 before spending three seasons at Florida and was among a pool of candidates who could've been considered to replace Pat Summitt, who retired last month.

Instead, he has a deal that is on par with what Summitt had near the end of her career, even though the program doesn't turn a profit.

"We've only got two programs here that make money. So the rest of them are all working their way. I take as much pride in the ones that don't make money as the ones that do," Barnhart said. "I have two daughters. I want women to have opportunities to play at a high level. In order to do that, we were willing to invest in that."


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press