LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen has been rewarded for taking the program to its second NCAA tournament in three seasons with a five-year contract extension.
The deal announced this morning keeps Paulsen under contract in Lewisburg through the 2017-18 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Bison finished 28-6 this year to set school and Patriot League records for victories. Their season came to an end with a 68-56 loss last week to Butler.
Bucknell has developed a reputation for staunch defense under Paulsen after holding opponents to 37 percent shooting and 57 points a game. Senior center and career scoring leader Mike Muscala is a potential NBA draft pick who had 22 double-doubles this season while also being honored as the league’s top scholar-athlete.
Counting a trip to the 2012 NIT, Bucknell has had three straight postseason appearances — an impressive run for the brainy school from the academic-minded Patriot League.
Paulsen in a statement thanked university administrators. “I have never had more fun coaching than I did with this year’s team,” he said.
Paulsen’s name recently surfaced in Chicago-area media reports as a potential candidate at Northwestern to replace fired coach Bill Carmody. The Wildcats hired longtime Duke assistant Chris Collins on Wednesday night. Paulsen was also rumored to be a possible candidate for the vacant Siena coaching position.
Paulsen declined to answer questions about anything other than Bucknell in a phone interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press — though he didn’t sound like someone who was leaving central Pennsylvania anytime soon.
“We were one of the best mid-major programs in the country,” Paulsen said. “The challenge is going to be: Can we maintain that status? That’s going to be a matter for everyone in the program — coaches and players really stepping up.” Bucknell is 78-24 over the last three seasons, with a Patriot League record three straight outright regular-season titles.