Jonescontract

Radford coach Mike Jones (left) smiles as he receives the Big South championship trophy from his team after Radford won the Big South tournament title game. Jones received a new contract Tuesday.

In the wake of steering the Radford University men’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament, Mike Jones has been rewarded with a new contract.

Jones said Thursday his contract has been extended through the 2021-22 season. The upcoming season was going to be the final one of his previous deal, but now he is under contract for three additional seasons beyond this one.

“It’s great … [to get] the opportunity to stay and continue to build on what we’ve been able to do during my tenure, especially this past season,” Jones said in a phone interview. “I’m really excited about the future of this program. I’m just very appreciative of any [more] years, and certainly three is a great number.”

Jones will reap $230,000 in total pay in each of the next four years, excluding performance bonuses, according to RU athletic director Robert Lineburg. Jones received $205,000 in total pay last season.

“I love this program,” Jones said. “I love being here in Radford.”

Jones is 116-116 in seven years with the Highlanders. He has steered Radford to four winning seasons in the last five years.

He was in the next-to-last year of his old contract when he steered Radford to a 23-13 record and an NCAA Tournament win last season.

The Highlanders won the 2018 Big South tournament to advance to the NCAAs for the first time since 2009. It was only the third NCAA Tournament appearance in the program’s history. Radford beat LIU-Brooklyn in the “First Four” before falling to top-seeded and eventual NCAA champ Villanova in the round of 64.

Jones said he began discussing a new contract with Lineburg after the Big South championship game but “it always takes time.” The new deal was finalized last week.

“It’s never really been done here with the consistency over several years of being a really good program with the chance to compete for a championship, and we feel we have an opportunity to do that over the next several years,” Jones said. “This just allows us to really focus on taking that next step.”

Radford welcomes back three returning starters.

Jones and the 2018-19 edition of the Highlanders left Thursday for a trip to Europe. The Highlanders will play three games against club teams and will do some sightseeing in the Netherlands, Belgium and France before returning home on Aug. 11.

The Highlanders will play their games in Belgium. They will play Sunday in Brussels; Aug. 7 in Bruges; and Aug. 9 in Antwerp.

The trip will give Jones a chance to blend his eight returning players with the squad’s newcomers.

“It just gives us a head start on next season, learning who can do what,” Jones said. “We’ll try some new stuff that we might want to use during the year. It’ll be a nice opportunity for our team to really bond, and a big-time cultural experience.”

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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