Buffalo's Witherspoon gets three-year extension

Updated: May 25, 2006, 5:51 PM ET
Associated Press

AMHERST, N.Y. -- Coach Reggie Witherspoon received a three-year contract extension from the University at Buffalo on Thursday, rewarded for reviving a struggling men's basketball program.

The extension locks up Witherspoon through 2012, and comes after the Bulls registered their third straight winning season. That's a significant turnaround for the Mid-American Conference program that was in disarray when he took over in December 1999 after Tim Cohane resigned because of a recruiting scandal that eventually led to NCAA sanctions.

"Through the diligence of Reggie and his staff, the Buffalo basketball program has risen from the bottom of the conference to become a highly respected Division I program," athletic director Warde Manuel said.

Witherspoon, voted the MAC coach of the year in 2003-04, has a 93-120 career record at Buffalo, but is 59-35 in his last three seasons. The Bulls' best season came in 2004-05 when they won a school record 23 games and earned an NIT berth, the program's first postseason appearance.

Buffalo then gained national attention last season, earning votes in The Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in school history following an 11-1 start. The Bulls finished 19-13, losing to Kent State in the MAC tournament quarterfinal.

Witherspoon was recently named a bench coach for the USA Basketball Under-18 trails this summer.

"I am honored to receive this kind of commitment," Witherspoon said. "I am excited about both the future of the Buffalo basketball program as well as the entire athletic department."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press