After a captivating run to the Final Four in his second season at UCLA, coach Mick Cronin has been rewarded with a two-year extension that will elevate his salary to $4 million per year, athletic director Martin Jarmond announced Thursday.
The move extends Cronin’s original six-year deal, set to expire in 2025, through the 2026-27 season. Cronin reportedly made $3.2 million and $3.3 million, respectively, in the first two years of a deal that was set to cap at $3.7 million in his final season.
“I love being at UCLA,” Cronin, 49, said in a statement. “The commitment from our players over the past two seasons has been rewarding, especially as we have dealt with some unusual challenges during a global pandemic. I would like to thank our players and my coaching staff for their continued commitment to build this basketball program into something of which we can all be proud.”
Cronin faced adversity during a 2020-21 campaign already affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Top recruit Daishen Nix announced last April that he would enter the G League instead of playing at UCLA, and one month into the season, standout Chris Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The Bruins, picked to win the league in the Pac-12 preseason poll, finished fourth after going 13-6 in conference play. They entered the NCAA tournament as an 11-seed with a 17-9 record and had to play a First Four game. Led by star Johnny Juzang, UCLA beat Michigan State, BYU, Abilene Christian, Alabama and Michigan to reach the Final Four in Indianapolis. They lost to Gonzaga 93-90 in overtime on a deep buzzer-beater by Jalen Suggs at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“In less than two years in Westwood — through seasons disrupted by a global pandemic — Mick has led UCLA men’s basketball back to its rightful place among the nation’s elite,” Jarmond said in a statement. “His leadership has given Bruin Nation a program to be proud of, galvanizing alumni and fans around the world, and it’s only the beginning. This extension represents the stability and commitment needed to execute the long-term vision that Mick and I share. The future is bright.”
Cronin’s squad is ranked second in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25.