(KPIX) — For years Randy Bennett’s name has cycled through the rumor mill as a candidate for bigger and better jobs, but it appears he has no plans to leave his head coaching post at St. Mary’s College. The university announced they rewarded the 55-year-old with a 10-year contract extension that will run through the 2026-2027 season.

Bennett begins his 17th season in Moraga Saturday when the Gaels host St. Francis at McKeon Pavilion. In 2001 he inherited a team that won just two games, but since has cultivated a basketball powerhouse.

READ MORE: Man Arrested Following Weekend Bar Shooting In Belmont

Over the last decade Bennett guided the Gaels to a 263-76 overall record, and has qualified for the NCAA tournament five times in that stretch.

Much of Bennett’s success comes from another continent. He’s established a pipeline Australian players who flourish on the small East Bay campus. Six of the 15 players currently on the Gaels roster are from down under.

READ MORE: COVID: Testing In Contra Costa County Nearly Double Pandemic Peak During Omicron Surge

“We’ve had great student-athletes and assistant coaches who have put a lot of hard work and effort into building the program to this level. My family and I truly enjoy being in such a supportive community and raising our family around this environment,” Bennett said in a press release from the school. “We are excited to continue what we have started here 17 years ago.”

Expectations have never been higher for the Gaels, who were picked to win the West Coast Conference in a preseason coaches poll. It’s the first time in 17 years a team other than Gonzaga has been picked to win it.

 

MORE NEWS: San Francisco Superior Court Appoints First Black Woman As Chief of Adult Probation