Why did Stanford renew Johnny Dawkins’ contract?

Johnny Dawkins, the former Duke basketball player and assistant coach, has signed an extension with Stanford to remain their head coach through the 2015-2016 season. But with three years remaining on his original contract and a ho-hum 49-48 overall record, why would Stanford sign him to an extension?

Will Dawkins' extension help him on the recruiting trail? It better.

Only one reason seems possible: to help Dawkins on the recruiting trail. Jon Wilner of the Mercury News explains it well:

The extension is partly a show of support for Dawkins, who’s 49-48 in three years (no NCAA appearances) and oversees a program slipping into irrelevance — even on its own campus. But it’s largely a recruiting necessity: It allows him to hit the road this month and tell rising juniors and seniors that he’s under contract at Stanford for the entirety of their college careers.

This makes a lot of sense. Stanford wants to improve its basketball program and this will hopefully help Dawkins turn it around on the recruiting trail and land some impact players for the Cardinal. Plus, it’s relatively risk-less. In the world of college athletics, a lot of these contract extensions are meaningless as the school’s protect themselves with “out-clauses” that let them get rid of the coach with limited financial loss.

Dawkins better hope that recruiting improves and results follow, but it won’t be easy. The Pac-10 has been relatively weak the past few years but it won’t be down for long (see: improving Washington, Arizona, UCLA, USC). If Dawkins doesn’t have the Cardinal dancing in one of the next two years, he won’t get a dime from this contract extension.

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