ATLANTA – Georgia State Director of Athletics Cheryl Levick announced Friday that the contract of head men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter has been extended for two additional years, keeping the award-winning coach in Atlanta until 2020. In addition to adding to the length of Hunter’s contract, both sides agreed to an adjusted base salary, NCAA tournament salary trigger and buyout clause.
“It was an absolute pleasure to extend coach Ron Hunter’s contract,” Levick said. “Ron epitomizes what we want in a coach, a leader and a role model for the Georgia State Athletics Department, and he has all the characteristics needed to build a powerhouse program in the Sun Belt Conference. We have made a commitment to each other through 2020 and look forward to many championship celebrations in the coming years.”
Hunter’s contract will now run through April 30, 2020. In addition to two more years, the changes call for a bump in base salary to $425,000 for the 2014-15 season. While there is an annual increase built in, the biggest bump would follow an NCAA tournament appearance, which would automatically kick the following year’s base salary to $500,000. The existing bonus structure remains in effect, while Hunter’s buyout clause now is established at $650,000.
“I would like to thank President Mark Becker and Director of Athletics Cheryl Levick for this wonderful opportunity to lead Georgia State basketball until 2020,” Hunter said. “This is something that my family and I are excited about. We love Georgia State. It has become an extended family to us more than anything else. We are excited to be here, we are excited to bring championships to Georgia State and we are excited to bring postseason opportunities to this great university and its incredible students, alumni and fans. I especially want to say thank you to all of those who made this possible, including my great coaching staff – which I feel is the best in the country – and of course to my players.”
Hunter owns 62 wins in his first three years guiding the Georgia State program, the most to start a career with the Panthers. Among that total is a pair of 20-plus win seasons, two of only five in the school’s first 50 years of Division I basketball competition. Overall, Hunter has a 336-256 career record in 20 years as a head coach.
The Panthers reached the postseason NIT in 2014 after playing in the conference tournament title game. It was the second postseason berth in three years under Hunter, and only the fifth postseason appearance for Georgia State in program history. GSU finished 25-9 overall in 2013-14, giving Hunter’s squads two of the top three single-season win totals in Panther annals. In his first year in Atlanta, Hunter led GSU to a 22-11 mark and berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
Following the 2013-14 regular season, Hunter was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Panthers to a near-perfect 17-1 record in league play during GSU’s first season back in the Sun Belt. The Panthers set school records for longest winning streak (14 games), conference winning streak (10 games) and road winning streak (seven games) while also going a perfect 13-0 at home, the second-longest home winning streak in program history.
Georgia State was one of only three Division I programs in the nation in 2013-14 that boasted four active 1,000-point scorers, led by Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year R.J. Hunter, who averaged 18.3 points per game and set a program single-season mark with 100 3-pointers. The younger Hunter and Ryan Harrow, both first-team all-league honorees, each return for the Panthers in 2014-15. Overall, seven players have earned all-conference honors under coach Hunter in his three years at Georgia State (two in 2011-12, one in 2012-13, and four in 2013-14).