May 2, 2012

WBB Coach Gets Raise And Extension

Two weeks after rejecting overtures from Georgetown, James Madison women's basketball coach Kenny Brooks has gotten a $20,000 raise and a one-year extension.

The 43-year-old Brooks' new contract pays him a base salary of $216,000 per year and runs through April 24, 2017. Brooks' previous contract was worth $196,000 and ran through 2016. The new deal took effect on April 25.

"The fact that JMU has done what they've done has been tremendous," Brooks, a Waynesboro native, said Tuesday. "I really appreciate it."

JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne said in mid April that Brooks would get a new contract because of the Hoyas' interest. Brooks said Georgetown never offered him a job but wanted to bring him on campus for an interview. Instead, Brooks turned down the interview and opted to stay at Madison, his alma mater.

The new deal ensures that Brooks - who says he does not have an agent - will remain one of the top-paid women's basketball coaches in the Colonial Athletic Association.

At JMU, Brooks' new salary still trails that of men's basketball coach Matt Brady, who makes $290,000, because of the difference in the money-making potential of men's and women's basketball. It is closer, however, to JMU football coach Mickey Matthews' base salary of $222,000.

Figures for all the CAA's women's coaches were unavailable, but among state rivals, George Mason's Jeri Porter makes $185,000, Old Dominion's Karen Barefoot makes $175,000 and William & Mary's Debbie Taylor makes $105,100.

At the major-conference level, Virginia's Joanne Boyle makes $700,000 in "total annual compensation," according to VirginiaSports.com, and Virginia Tech' Dennis Wolff makes a base of $233,486.

Under Brooks, the Dukes have become the CAA's dominant women's program, winning league championships in 2010 and 2011. In 10 seasons, Brooks has a 227-96 record and has guided Madison to seven straight postseason appearances, including a run to the WNIT championship game this year. The Dukes lost to Oklahoma State in the final, finishing the season with a 29-8 record.

Bourne could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but in April he cited several factors in renegotiating Brooks' contract.

"He's obviously a proven, successful coach," Bourne said. "He has the great relationship with the kids. He has the ability to recruit young ladies to the program that end up being successful academically, as well as being competitive on the court. It's an attractive skill these days. It's hard to find, and besides that, he's just a wonderful person."

Brooks said his new contract helped stabilize recruiting after the Georgetown rumors made recruits and AAU coaches ask questions.

"April marked the first month we can make home calls to juniors and that swirled around, right around that time," Brooks said. "I would spend the first few minutes [on the phone] trying to dispel that rumor … This just really solidified what I'm talking about."

Still, considering recent history, this probably won't be the last time Brooks has to deal with his name being attached to other jobs. Bourne said Brooks has generated interest from other programs (he declined to say who or how many when asked in April), and that calls have picked up in recent years.

"I'm happy for the program," Bourne said. "Those calls don't come unless your coaches are competitive, and they compete at the absolute highest level in the league."

NOTE: Brooks said that sophomore guard Debbie Smith and freshman forward Briana Jones will transfer. Neither, he said, has selected a school. Smith averaged 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 29 games this season; Jones never played. … JMU has tentatively scheduled a home-and-home series with Virginia that will start this season, Brooks said. The contract, though, isn't finished.

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