Purdue signs Painter through 2016-17
Purdue coach Matt Painter knows his new contract is about much more than his own financial security.
It's about security for recruits.
Painter has signed a new contract that will keep him leading the Boilermakers through the 2016-17 season. Purdue said Friday that it gives Painter a $1.3 million base salary, plus up to $1 million of incentives for academic, athletic and attendance performance.
Painter said he's been working on the deal with the school ``for a while,'' and he's glad to get it done.
"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,'' he said. "We've been able to prove that with this contract.''
Painter has a 112-56 record in five seasons at Purdue. The Boilermakers went 29-6 and shared the Big Ten regular season title this season, winning two games in the NCAA tournament before a 70-57 loss to Duke in the Sweet 16. The Boilermakers tied the school record for wins while winning their first regular-season championship since 1996.
The previous season, Purdue claimed its first-ever conference tournament crown en route to its first Sweet 16 appearance in almost a decade.
Athletic director Morgan Burke said the team has made positive strides each year under Painter and that the new contract shows a belief that ``the best days for this program are yet to come.''
Painter said the deal is retroactive to July 1.
Purdue was expected to contend for a spot in the Final Four before star forward Robbie Hummel went down with a torn ACL in his right knee. After Hummel's injury, Purdue was a popular pick to lose to Siena in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Boilermakers beat Siena and Texas A&M before losing to Duke.
"I think it would have been a disappointing season if we hadn't continued to play hard and try our best,'' Painter said. "I think our guys, with all the adversity, continued to play hard, didn't make excuses and went out there and continued to win games.
As Painter prepared to be an assistant coach for a college all-star game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday, the site of the Final Four, he thought about the opportunity lost.
"I feel bad for our seniors,'' he said. "You can always play the 'what if' game. We could have gotten here, but you never know, with the injury to Rob.''
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.