Oct. 15, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio–Andy Geiger, Ohio State director of athletics, announced today the contract of head men’s basketball coach Jim O’Brien has been extended through the 2007 season.
“I am really pleased because this means that Jim O’Brien is going to be a Buckeye for a long time with no plans of going elsewhere,” Geiger said. “He has performed extremely well as a mentor and as a basketball coach. Our program is certainly going in the right direction. Continuity is very important and keeping together our good leaders behind this program is important.”
O’Brien said the length of the contract indicates the level of support from the university and athletics department administrations.
“I am flattered with the offer from Ohio State,” O’Brien said. “I appreciate the interest in having me coach at Ohio State for that long. (OSU) President (William E.) Kirwan and Andy Geiger have both been very gracious and supportive of the efforts of my staff and me.”
Kirwan said O’Brien is exactly what the university looks for in positions of leadership.
“Jim O’Brien is one of the finest men’s basketball coaches in America,” Kirwan said. “He is a coach of great skill and enthusiasm, a mentor of outstanding ability and dedication, and a person of character and integrity. He has brought discipline, focus, high standards, and extraordinary achievement to our basketball program. More importantly, he stands as a wonderful role model to athletes and students alike, and he is the kind of person we want representing this great university. I am pleased, indeed, that Jim will be with us for a good while to come.”
The new agreement, an eight-year term, is retroactive to July 1, 1999 and will pay O’Brien a base salary of $175,000 per year. Additional resources from radio, television, NIKE and camps raises his annual compensation to $833,275. O’Brien also could earn bonuses for extraordinary athletic and team academic performances. His contract is extendible. One year could be added each season if certain athletic achievements are reached, i.e., winning the Big Ten Championship, the Big Ten Tournament or reaching the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
O’Brien broke a string of five-consecutive losing seasons at Ohio State with a 27-9 campaign in 1998-99. The Buckeyes advanced to the Final Four after finishing second in the Big Ten with a 12-4 league mark.
He orchestrated one of the greatest turnarounds in NCAA history in taking the Buckeyes from an 8-22 record in 1997-98 to the Final Four last year.
O’Brien was recognized by his peers as the NCAA National Co-Coach of the Year and by the media as the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1999 after leading the Buckeyes to the ninth Final Four in school history and first since 1968.
In addition, he was selected as the 1999 Clair Bee Coach of the Year by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Big Ten honor marked the third time, in three different conferences, he has been recognized as the conference coach of the year. He was honored as coach of the year while at St. Bonaventure (1983) in the Atlantic 10 and at Boston College (1996) in the BIG EAST.
O’Brien enters the 1999-00 season with an overall record of 270-248 over 17 seasons as a head coach and a 35-31 mark in two seasons at Ohio State.