Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Rachel Lenzi email@example.com
The University of Maine announced Monday that women's basketball coach Cindy Blodgett has received a two-year contract extension.
Cindy Blodgett will have three more years to turn around the fortunes of a women’s basketball program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2004-05.
The Associated Press
Cindy Blodgett enjoyed lots of success as a player at Maine, and is trying to bring back that success as a coach.
1995 Press Herald file
BLODGETT IN BRIEF
• Three-year record as Maine coach: 20-69
• Annual salary: $109,772
• As a player (1994-98): Set 20 school records while leading Maine to four NCAA tournament appearances.
Blodgett, in her fourth year as the Black Bears' coach, had her contract extended through the 2012-13 season. According to university officials, Blodgett will make $109,772 each of the next three years.
Steve Abbott, Maine's interim athletic director, said Blodgett's contract extension had been in the negotiation process prior to the departure of Blake James, who resigned last month and took a job as the senior associate athletic director for external affairs at the University of Miami. Abbott said the formal approval process concluded late last week.
"As soon as the season ended, in March, Blake talked to me even then about this," said Blodgett.
"Any time a coach enters the final year of the contract, it's important that the program or whatever team you're involve in, that they believe in what you're doing or they don't. You don't want a head coach to go into a situation where there's one season left on a contract. It ties your hands with recruiting and it ties your hands even with the current players."
Blodgett believes the contract extension gives validation to the course she has been charting for the Black Bears, who are in search of their first winning season since 2004-05.
The Black Bears are 20-69 under Blodgett and finished 8-21 last season, including 4-12 in the America East Conference. Maine opens the 2010-11 season Nov. 13 at Alfond Arena against Harvard.
"I really think that we're in an environment where wins and losses is what people compare success to," Blodgett said. "I've been involved in winning my entire life. Nobody wants to win more than I do.
"You have to be willing to stay the course and stay in the process and believe in what you want to accomplish. We're able to build a foundation with the players who we can believe in. It's about letting players develop and gain experience, and it allows players to understand you're going to continue to get better."
Maine returns three starters from last year's team -- forwards Samantha Wheeler and Katelyn Vanderhoff and guard Corinne Wellington. Tanna Ross, a guard from Newburgh, is the only senior on the roster.
"We're not pleased to win only eight games," Blodgett said. "To a certain degree, we had to overcome a lot of injuries and everything. We're probably one of the youngest teams in the country, and our players got a lot of experience. Now, we need to put that into action."
One of Maine's all-time top high school basketball stars while leading Lawrence to four consecutive Class A state championships, Blodgett, 34, starred at Maine from 1994-98, setting 20 school records. She helped Maine to four appearances in the NCAA tournament, was a four-time WBCA District 1 All-American and finished with 3,005 career points -- sixth most in NCAA history. She played professionally in the WNBA and overseas.
Blodgett was an assistant at Boston University during the 1999-2000 season, and later served two years as an assistant at Brown University before taking over the Black Bears' program.
"She came into a new situation, and the challenge now is for her to make this her program," Abbott said. "To really put her stamp on it. I guess that's why I'm excited about this extension. It gives her an opportunity to do that.
"This is Cindy's time to bring Maine women's basketball back to tradition. What a great way to do it, with someone who had made such an impact on the game in Maine. The hope for her is to put the program back in that position, and build on the past tradition and take it to new heights."
Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org