LINCOLN — Fifty-one days after Nebraska set a school record for conference men’s basketball victories and completed a regular season with its second-most wins, coach Tim Miles has a contract extension.
It’s for one year.
That gives Miles, 97-97 overall after six seasons, three years total when the industry standard is four or five years to fend off negative recruiting from competing schools.
Miles, in a phone interview Tuesday from a toll road in Maryland while recruiting, tried to downplay concern about the short length of the extension from Athletic Director Bill Moos.
“I’m excited about our progress, so the length isn’t a big deal to me,’’ Miles said. “I’m glad Bill — and the upper administration — saw fit to extend me. There are times that will help in recruiting.’’
Did Miles and Moos arm-wrestle over the length?
“You can tell that if we did,’’ Miles deadpanned, “it didn’t go my way.’’
Moos, in a phone interview Tuesday from California, said he typically wants his revenue-sport coaches to have at least four years on their contracts.
“I like the direction we are moving with Tim,’’ he said. “I just felt to protect the university at this juncture that a one-year extension to three overall would be good, and we could talk about it again after next year.’’
The objective, Moos said, is for Nebraska basketball to find “stability and consistency,’’ and to “build off this 22-win season and get back to 20 wins or so next year.’’
Also, for the second time, Moos squashed any talk that he considered changing coaches.
“If I had wanted to make a change, I would have done it,’’ he said. “I have confidence in Tim.’’
At Nebraska, Miles has one NCAA tournament berth — the school’s only one in 20 years — and one NIT appearance. After going 19-13 and reaching the NCAA tourney in 2014, the Huskers returned four starters yet fell to 13-18.
Miles, who has had losing records in four of six seasons, returns six of his top eight players for 2018-19.
Miles said his current annual compensation schedule ($2,250,080 in 2017-18) and his buyout if fired without cause ($105,000 per month for the length of his contract) remain the same.
With Nebraska having scholarships to fill and an assistant coach to hire, the optics of a one-year extension after going 22-11 overall and 13-5 in the Big Ten will continue to raise eyebrows.
Both at the Big Ten tournament in New York and the NCAA regional finals in Omaha, regional and national reporters asked World-Herald writers repeatedly when Miles would get an extension and why it was taking so long.
Moos said contract length isn’t always a negative. He praised the Huskers’ work in recruiting after Miles was denied the usual one-year extension each of the previous two seasons from former Nebraska A.D. Shawn Eichorst, who was fired last September.
Nebraska has two open scholarships for 2018-19. A third likely will become available with point guard Xavier Johnson from Arlington, Virginia — the Huskers’ No. 1 recruiting target — expressing doubts after NU assistant Kenya Hunter left for Connecticut.
Miles must fill those spots while opposing coaches float the narrative that recruits can’t be sure the Nebraska staff will be around for all four years the player will be there.
“It’s always a concern,’’ he said. “There are people out there that use it against you. At the same time, we’ve had considerable contributions by everybody across campus backing our staff and our program and the direction we’re going.
“Those people have really helped us in recruiting, and I would expect that to continue.’’
There’s also cause for pause in hiring an assistant coach after getting only a one-year extension, with some candidates leery about longevity.
“That’s case by case,’’ Miles said. “There are certainly guys who are more comfortable in a situation who are more likely to stay than join our venture at Nebraska. But there are a lot of cases where people have seen what we’ve done and want to be a part of it.”
Moos knows the lay of the land in recruiting and hiring, and how others might try to frame Nebraska’s situation.
“But there should be a lot of talented people wanting to be at Nebraska, especially with how we have things moving now,’’ he said. “I’m confident in what lies ahead.’’