Release  Horizon League ·

Oct. 25, 2004

MILWAUKEE - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and head basketball coach Bruce Pearl have agreed on a new five-year contract, athletic department officials officially announced today. The agreement extends through the 2008-2009 season.

Pearl has gone 60-32 in his first three seasons at UWM, leading the Panthers to the 2003 Horizon League Tournament title and the 2004 Horizon League regular season crown. The Panthers also played in the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and the National Invitation Tournament in 2004.

Pearl, who is the third winningest coach currently in Division I college basketball, coached nine years at the University of Southern Indiana before being hired at UWM in April of 2001. In the three seasons since, the Panthers have posted a 37-11 mark in Horizon League games, the best among all league schools, and Pearl has been named Horizon League Coach of the Year twice.

"This new contract is an excellent indication of the committment UWM has made to its athletic department and to the men's basketball program," Pearl said. "It's also a demonstration to the community, as well as our players and prospects, that I am committed to UWM."

The new contract has been enhanced financially thanks to the new Atheltics Coaches Exceptional Achievement Award Fund, which was established through private donations, including a gift from UWM alumnus Harris Turer. The fund creates new retention payments, as well as a bonus structure for league championships and post-season appearances. The bonus structure can also benefit the men's basketball assistant coaches, as well as coaches in UWM's 14 other sports.

"Bruce is a keeper," athletic director Bud Haidet said. "He has been extremely successful both on and off the court and it is nice that we were able to identify some revenue sources to help make his contract even more attractive."

The Panthers, who have already opened pre-season practice, start the exhibition season Nov. 3. The first regular season game is Nov. 20 against Prairie View A&M.

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