The University of Akron and basketball coach Keith Dambrot have agreed to a contract that could keep him at the school for the next decade, UA announced Friday.
Dambrot and the school have been in friendly negotiations since the end of the season. Duquesne University tried to lure away Dambrot after the Zips completed their seventh consecutive 20-win season and claimed the Mid-American Conference’s regular-season crown. The Zips lost to Ohio in the title game of the MAC Tournament.
“We’ve been in agreement for a while,” Dambrot said during a telephone conversation. “It was just a matter of dotting some i’s and crossing some t’s. There wasn’t much haggling over anything.”
The 10-year contract provides for a significant pay increase retroactive to July 1 of this year. Dambrot’s base salary will rise by 25 percent from $320,000 to $400,000. With incentives for conference championships, National Invitation Tournament and NCAA Tournament appearances and wins, he could make significantly more.
Dambrot also secured raises for his coaching staff.
“This is a job that requires you to do it as a staff,” Dambrot said. “It’s not about me. We’ve had good assistant coaches here. You have to take care of your people when you have success.”
The contract runs through the 2021-22 season. The length of the deal could ensure that Dambrot, who will be 54 before the start of next season, finishes his coaching career at UA.
“If I coach much longer than that, you might have to push me down the steps,” he said.
Dambrot has a 184-87 record (93-39 in the MAC) during his time at UA. The Zips’ 184 wins under Dambrot are the most by any team in the MAC and are tied for 31st in the nation.
“Keith is the best coach in the MAC and one of the top coaches in basketball,” Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said in a news release. “He has built the Zips into one of the top mid-major programs in the country and continues to lead his alma mater to new heights. This contract is not only a reward for his team’s performance over the past eight years, but a reflection of how the program continues to flourish.”
The contract is subject to approval by the UA Board of Trustees.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.