After more than a year of uncertainty for both current and prospective members of the Binghamton University men’s basketball team, a measure of security comes with a new name: head coach Mark Macon.
Macon, who until recently was BU’s interim men’s basketball coach, was appointed to the position of head coach Wednesday and given an annual pay raise of about $40,000.
Macon’s new contract runs up to June 30, 2014, after the end of the 2013-14 basketball season. Until Wednesday, Macon was officially under an assistant coaching contract, but he was acting as head coach. The new contract affirms him as full head coach. His new annual salary will be about $170,000, according to Interim Athletic Director Jim Norris.
Norris said a large part of the reason for the promotion was to give Macon and BU more sway in dealing with recruits, who often look for assurances that the coach who picks them will be around for the duration of their time on a team.
“The [prospective recruit’s] choice is made in large part due to who the coach is,” Norris said. “Removing the interim tag does say that this is our guy.” Norris said all current assistant coaches would remain in their positions.
Macon also acknowledged these benefits of shedding the interim tag.
“In the recruiting process you can be recruited against by using that terminology,” Macon said of his former title. He said coaches from other schools might leverage Macon’s interim title against BU.
“I know my coaches would get that from kids and from parents,” he said.
Macon said he was pleased with the promotion overall.
“I am gracious for this opportunity and very humbled by it,” he said.
The announcement also contradicts earlier proclamations made by Interim President C. Peter Magrath.
When he announced in October that an NCAA investigation into the BU basketball program found no major infractions and that former head coach Kevin Broadus would not be returning to coaching duties, Magrath stated several times that it would be inappropriate for him to appoint Macon to head coach since both Magrath and Norris held their positions on an interim basis as well.
“I’m sure there was a reason for that,” Norris said Thursday, but he said that things have changed since then.
“I did request a meeting with President Magrath,” Norris said. That meeting was one stage in a process that developed over the past few weeks.
Norris said that after additional talks with Macon, a decision was made about two and a half to three weeks ago. He said the athletics department waited until Wednesday because they wanted to choose an appropriate time for the announcement.
He said he did not want to distract the BU team or any other teams in the America East Conference, so Wednesday was chosen in part because no basketball teams in the conference were competing that day.
Norris also indicated he has been pleased with Macon’s ability to recruit “high quality young men despite all the negativity surrounding our program.”
Macon was appointed interim head coach in fall 2009 when former head coach Broadus was suspended after five of the players were dismissed from the team. Broadus and the players were later named in a 100-page audit of BU’s athletic program. Broadus was suspended indefinitely with pay. He eventually parted ways with the University last October under an agreement in which BU bought out the rest of his contract and payed lawyers’ fees for a total of $1.2 million.