Even with his Colorado men's basketball team mired in an often unsightly slump, the confidence in head coach Tad Boyle remains high among his superiors within the CU athletic department.
That fact was confirmed yet again in recent weeks, as the automatic one-year extension that is written into the terms of Boyle's contract was renewed for another season, keeping CU's leader under contract through the 2023-24 season.
Per the terms of that contract, the one-year extension is automatically invoked unless one side — either Boyle and his agent, or the university — gives notice about opting out of the extension prior to Dec. 31 each year. CU athletic director Rick George confirmed to BuffZone.com neither side gave notice before the recent deadline, adding another year to a contract that pays Boyle a shade under $1.425 million per year in base and supplemental salary.
The automatic extension simply adds a year to the agreement while the terms of the deal remain unchanged. The extension is expected to be approved at the Board of Regents meeting Feb. 13-14.
George, who was on the road with Boyle's club for CU's game at Arizona last week before traveling to California for Monday night's football national championship game, said his faith in Boyle remains strong despite the Buffaloes being on track to miss the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season.
That drought, combined with an often ugly run of four losses in five games heading into a Thursday night home date against Washington State (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network), made it easy to wonder if this might be the year George declined the one-year option. CU's athletic director says there was little internal debate.
"I'm very confident in the direction Tad it taking this program and the student-athletes he has assembled," George said. "I feel good about all our coaches and the direction that we're going. I've been with the basketball team. I've been around them. Certainly I don't think we're thrilled the last four or five games, but there's a lot to go.
"I feel good about recruiting. I feel good about the players on the team and what they're doing. I was around them in Arizona and I can see the enthusiasm at shoot-arounds and practice. We just have to go out on the basketball court and play better."
Boyle led the Buffs to four NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons after CU previously had earned just two NCAA tourney bids in 41 years. But during that span the Buffs posted just one NCAA Tournament first-round win — in 2012, the same year CU won the Pac-12 Conference tournament — and Boyle's club hasn't done better than a 2017 first-round exit in the NIT since its last NCAA appearance in 2016.
Now in his ninth season, Boyle owns a career mark of 175-115 at CU going into Thursday's game. Only Sox Walseth (261) and Ricardo Patton (184) have won more games as the Buffs' men's basketball coach. Including the 2011 run to the NIT Final Four, Boyle's program ended a string of seven consecutive postseason appearances last season, though Boyle voluntarily opted to not enter his club in a third-tier postseason tournament — like the club's appearance in the 2015 CBI — simply to keep that streak alive.
"Certainly the last five games, we haven't played well," Boyle said. "But I've always been a big-picture guy. I've always made decisions as the head coach of Colorado with the future in mind. I'm doing the same thing now and I'll always do the same thing as I'll always do the same thing at the University of Colorado as the coach.
"We have a roster full of good, young players. I love our freshman and sophomore class. We have only one senior. I feel as good about the future of this program as I ever have with the young players that we've got. We've had a setback, but I'm not going to push the panic button on anything."