Brian Wardle, Green Bay agree to five-year extension

Brian Wardle, Green Bay agree to five-year extension

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

Brian Wardle nearly got Green Bay into the NCAAs last season. (USATSI)

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The Phoenix of Green Bay have extended their contract with coach Brian Wardle.

The new deal was announced Thursday.

"We are very excited about the direction of our men's basketball program,” school AD Mary Ellen Gillespie said. “Brian and his staff have done an outstanding job the past four years, and we want to make sure we are continuing to move forward. A Horizon League Championship, a 24-win season, Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and postseason play certainly elevated Phoenix men's basketball this year, and I am thrilled Brian and his staff will continue to lead our men as we strive to get to the next level. We believe in Brian, we want him at Green Bay, and we look forward to continued Phoenix success on the court and in the classroom."

That's an extremely supportive statement, and sign of a positive new era for Green Bay. Remember, a year ago Wardle had former players alleging emotional and verbal abuse against him. The school did an extensive internal review of the case and found some of the claims to be overblown. Wardle wasn't allowed to restructure his contract until now because of it, and a school-picked adviser oversaw the team's practice activities last season.

Green Bay was a bubble team in 2013-14 after winning the Horizon's regular-season title. The Phoenix will likely be the preseason pick to win the league next year thanks to All-League talent Keifer Sykes.

“I am grateful and humbled to lead the Green Bay men's basketball program moving forward,” Wardle said in a statement. “Green Bay has been home to my family for the past nine years, and we have a great deal of loyalty to this university and community."

Wardle got the Green Bay gig in 2010. He's 71-56 overall to date, and the 2014 league title was the school's first in men's basketball in 18 years.

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