Success earns Northwestern coach contract extension

Updated: April 24, 2006, 7:27 PM ET

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Randy Walker has turned Northwestern from Big Ten doormat to legitimate title contender. In the process, he earned himself four more years to take the program even further.

Northwestern director of athletics Mark Murphy announced Monday that the university has extended Walker's contract through the 2011 season.

Walker, who joined the Wildcats in 1999 after a successful nine-year tenure at Miami of Ohio, was previously signed through the 2007 campaign.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He earned an initial extension after leading the Wildcats to a share of the 2000 Big Ten championship.

"I'm really pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with Randy on a contract extension," Murphy said. "I have tremendous respect for the way he runs the program. We've enjoyed great success in recent years."

Walker, who has moved into second place on Northwestern's all-time wins list (37), is the first Northwestern coach to guide three different teams to the postseason. In addition, he is the first Northwestern coach to direct three straight teams to four or more Big Ten wins.

"I'm pleased in my time at Northwestern that I've had the support and trust of President Bienen and the leadership of this institution," Walker said. "I respect the mission and direction of Northwestern and greatly admire and respect the decision-makers here.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity given to me by President Bienen and Mark Murphy, and will continue to work hard to give the entire Northwestern community a program in which they can take pride."

Northwestern is coming off a 7-5 season that included a trip to the Sun Bowl. It was the Wildcats' second bowl game in three years and their third since 2000.

Walker appears to be in prime position to build on this past season's success with 18 starters returning from last year's squad.