Sept. 6, 2007
WORCESTER, Mass. - Holy Cross and head men's basketball coach Ralph Willard have agreed to a new five-year contract extension, it was announced by athletic director Richard M. Regan, Jr. The new contract will keep Willard as the head coach of the Crusader men's basketball program through the 2012-2013 season.
"Ralph has really elevated this program since he arrived," said Regan. "When we hired him eight years ago, I thought he would fit in very well and time has proven that. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber. I really believe that he is one of the best coaches in college basketball today."
Willard has been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year three times during his first eight seasons at Holy Cross, during the 2000-2001, 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 campaigns. In addition, he was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award in 2005, and the Clair Bee National Coach of the Year award in 2003. Willard's teams have posted an overall record of 159-89 during his tenure with the Crusaders, good for an average of 19.9 victories per season. Holy Cross has won 20 or more games in a season six times under Willard, including each of the last three years.
During the 2006-2007 season, Willard led the Crusaders to an overall record of 25-9, with the team winning the Patriot League regular season and tournament titles, and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time during his eight years in Worcester. Holy Cross previously won the conference tournament crown and played in the NCAA Tournament during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 campaigns. The Crusaders also captured the Patriot League regular season title in 2004-2005, when they took part in the National Invitation Tournament.
During Willard's first eight seasons at Holy Cross, nine different players have earned All-Patriot League honors, including four Patriot League Player of the Year selections (Tim Szatko in 2001, Patrick Whearty in 2003, Kevin Hamilton in 2005 and Keith Simmons in 2007).
Willard's career record stands at 303-213, including four years at Western Kentucky University (81-42 / 1990-1994) and five seasons at the University of Pittsburgh (63-82 / 1994-1999).