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Purdue University

  • South Side product set for big year
    When Purdue players look to the bench, they know they can confer with coach Matt Painter and his assistants. On the court, there’s Rapheal Davis.
  • Painful loss for Boilers
    Purdue has made great strides in turning around its football program. But the Boilermakers were given a painful reminder on Saturday that there’s still room to improve.
  • Big changes may be in works for Boilers
    If Saturday’s scrimmage is an accurate indication, Purdue men’s basketball fans may be in for a surprise during the 2014-15 season.
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Painter rewarded with new contract

8-year extension pays $1.3 million per season

Painter

In only five seasons, Matt Painter took Purdue’s program from under .500 to the Sweet 16, a school record-tying 29 victories and a top-10 ranking.

He was rewarded Friday with a contract extension.

Painter signed an eight-year contract, retroactive to July 2009, that will keep him on Purdue’s sidelines through the 2016-17 season. Painter will make $1.3 million per year in base salary. Performance, academic and attendance figures could add an additional $1 million annually.

“We have made a commitment to both winning championships and developing student-athletes that will represent Purdue with pride,” Painter said in a statement. “I’m excited to have this contract completed because it will enable us to focus on those priorities for years to come. I’m looking forward to being part of a bright future for Purdue basketball.”

Painter was in Indianapolis on Friday to help coach the Reese’s All-Star game as part of the Final Four festivities. Former Purdue head coach Gene Keady coached the Reese’s team that included Boilermaker Chris Kramer. Painter was one of Keady’s assistants.

Keady’s influence on Painter has been the basis for the program’s resurgence.

Painter, who played for Keady and talks to him daily, has said often that his goal for the team is to have it play as hard as Keady’s teams did. Focusing on playing hard and being intense on defense makes it simple, Painter said.

That approach on the court – and being dogged in recruiting – has led to the program’s turnaround.

“When kids are making early decisions, if they can get past their senior years and know the coach still has four or five years – that’s all they really want to know,” Painter said. “We’ve been able to prove that with this contract.”

After winning only nine games in his first season, Painter has guided the Boilermakers to increased victory totals each season (9, 22, 25, 27, 29) and has a career record of 112-56. The team went 29-6 this season and won a share of its first Big Ten regular-season title since 1996.

Purdue also made its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 for the second straight year despite being without injured star Robbie Hummel.

Painter likes the attitude his players took into the NCAA tournament. With the team’s top three players – Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore – expected to return for their senior seasons – Painter thinks the Boilermakers could be in a good position again next year.

“The fact that we’ve been able to have a little success and we’ve been able to build on it makes our players, our coaches, everybody excited about trying to win some more games and trying to graduate our players,” Painter said.

Before the teams played in the second round of the NCAA tournament this season, Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon praised the job Painter has done at Purdue.

“I’m not trying to slight Purdue or anybody that he took over for (Keady), but it wasn’t in great shape. And for him to do what he’s done this quickly is pretty amazing,” said Turgeon, who also coached against Painter in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke and Nancy Cross, senior associate athletic director and men’s basketball sport administrator, agreed.

Cross called Painter’s contract a “defining moment for Purdue athletics” and has “little doubt that under his leadership, Purdue basketball will continue its meteoric rise to be the premiere men’s basketball program in the country.”

Burke said: “Each year, this program has made positive strides. This new contract acknowledges this progress and our belief the best days for this program are yet to come.”

sclardie@jg.net

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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