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Why did Marquette extend Steve Wojciechowski?

In mid February, with Marquette about to win an outright Big East crown and looking to crack a top-2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, I posed this question on Twitter:

It wasn’t a question of if, but when. Of course, Marquette then proceeded to lose 7 of it’s last 8 games, not win even a share of the crown, and got embarrassed by 12th seeded Murray State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. What was a formality became a legitimate question.

And then two starters on a potential top-5 team decided to transfer, possibly to in-state rival Wisconsin, and what became a legitimate question became the hottest of seats. With the program imploding from within and with mediocre on-court results, why in the world would Marquette extend Wojo’s contract?

And then that burning Q became moot on Tuesday afternoon, as the Marquette CBB Instagram account posted the news of Wojo’s extension to the world.

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The answer is a lot simpler than people are making it out to be.

It isn’t a complete validation of underwhelming results. It isn’t a pat on the back for the most embarrassing 2 month stretch since Buzz booked it to Blacksburg. It is simply the way the collegiate game works nowadays.

Wojo’s current contract was set to expire in 2022, which meant that any time he stepped foot into a recruit’s home and shook that player’s hand, he could not guarantee that he would be his coach for the entirety of that player’s time on campus. I know you are saying there’s no guarantee that it will happen now. He could easily get fired or jump to another job next April.

But in the current landscape, very few coaches are working the trails without at least 4 years of job safety. Those that don’t have are usually on the hot seat and have a much more difficult time getting buy in from the decision makers they are selling to.

And don’t forget Wojo’s last extension was announced midseason,in December of 2015, so 3.5 years ago, with an extra year already left. That was a calculated message from the admin that he had their backing. When last Spring and Summer passed without an extension, Wojo had to know he was coaching for his job security, even if he wasn’t on the hot seat.

The results were exemplary 75% of the way, hence the Tweet at the top. The last 25% not so much.

So Marquette basically had 2 choices: extend Wojo and alienate a fed up fanbase, or fire Wojo and start from scratch. Letting Wojo coach for his job this season without any security would put 2020 recruiting completely at risk, and damage the program no matter who was at the helm.

And trust me, while the admins aren’t exactly effusive with their praise in public, Wojo does indeed have their backing, as the trajectory of the team has been seen as 100% positive, up until the Hausers transferred, at least. They didn’t want to rebuild and extend a 5 year stretch of poor results another 2-3 years.

This is a gamble. Wojo hasn’t exactly proven to be a home run. But Marquette is betting that sticking with him is better than starting from scratch.

But don’t get me wrong, Wojo’s seat is still plenty hot. If the results remain lukewarm, no extension is going to save him next Spring. The time for results is now.

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Categories: General News, Home, Offseason

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