SMU AD Orsini gets contract extension through May 2015

Published Jan. 6, 2011 11:39 p.m. EST

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - SMU athletic director Steve Orsini has signed a contract extension that will keep him on the Hilltop through May 31, 2015, the school announced Thursday. Orsini's initial, five-year deal would have expired this May.

The deal came a week after football coach June Jones had discussions with representatives of Maryland's coaching search. Sources close to the program said then that issues needed to be addressed at SMU to provide Jones with the tools needed for the program to grow. It could be that re-signing Orsini was on the checklist.

Orsini said in an interview months ago that he was eager to extend his stay at SMU.

As a private institution, SMU is not required to disclose financial figures. Recent tax records show that Orsini has been making about $450,000 annually.

Orsini's most notable achievements to date include hiring Jones and organizing the Circle of Champions, an elite group of boosters who help pay Jones' salary. SMU has played in back-to-back bowls for the first time since 1983-84. One of Orsini's first duties for SMU was the hiring of basketball coach Matt Doherty, who is in his fifth season and has yet to have a winning season at SMU.

"SMU athletics has changed significantly for the better under Steve Orsini's leadership," said SMU president R. Gerald Turner in a statement.

"I'm proud of the work we've done so far," Orsini said in a statement, "but also know we have only begun to scratch the surface of the potential ... As I have said since I arrived at SMU ... we will win at SMU and achieve our goal of being top 25 in everything we do."