LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Reggie Theus and New Mexico State have agreed to a new contract that will give the third-year coach the highest salary in the Western Athletic Conference.
Theus has rejuvenated the Aggies program with consecutive winning seasons after being hired following a 6-24 record in 2004-05. The Aggies finished 25-9 last season, won the WAC tournament and played in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999.
``We've talked about excellence across the board in our athletic department and Coach Theus had done a great job,'' athletics director McKinley Boston said Thursday. ``Our goal is to have him be a member of the Aggie family for a long time.''
The new contract provides a financial package worth $466,000 per season and includes bonus opportunities. It also provides a continuation of the five-year roll over term and a buyout clause of two times Theus' base salary if he leaves for another position in the next two years.
Theus was paid $355,000 last season, including $275,000 in base pay and $80,000 in bonuses.
The bonuses were designed to reward Theus when the program reached set goals, such as winning 20 games, winning the WAC and reducing the number of academically at-risk student-athletes in the program.
Boston said the board of regents, the university president and the community believe the program is in good hands with Theus.
``The road map for success is there, the quality of the student-athletes is there and with the recruits we have coming in, it will position us to be competitive for a long time,'' he said.
The Aggies will return four of five starters and have signed six players for next season, including 6-foot-9 Herb Pope, a three-time all-state player from Pennsylvania who averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds as a senior.

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