ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Richard Pitino is now locked into the Lobo men’s basketball program through the 2027-28 season. The University of New Mexico announced a contract extension for its head coach on Friday.i

“The opportunity to extend him, to keep him here longer really started after the previous year and seeing what he was doing, the way he was building this program with the right kids, the right approach and the right community, building it up, showing the fan base what is possible here,” said UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez.

Pitino took over as head coach of the program in the 2021-2022 season and improved the Lobos win total in each of his first two years. He inherited a program that was No. 303 in the NCAA NET rankings and he elevated the Lobos to No. 64 by the end of the 2022-23 season. This past season, the Lobos eclipsed 20 wins and made a postseason appearance for the first time in nine years.

“My family and I have cherished our time in Albuquerque,” said Pitino. “We have one of the best fan bases in all of college basketball and they deserve a program to be proud of. I am so excited for what the future holds.”

Pitino’s success has also played a big role in revitalizing the UNM fanbase. This past season, UNM ranked 15th nationally in attendance with a total of over 228,000 fans. That ranking marks the first time since 2004-05 when UNM reached the top 15.

With the new extension, Pitino’s salary will be $1.1 million in 2023-24 and rise to $1.25 million in the final year of the contract in 2027-28.