Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb will meet with both of the university’s basketball coaches to discuss their contracts this week.
Cobb said he plans to extend the contract of women’s coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener, who just finished her fifth year at Georgia State. Her five-year deal was set to expire this year. The Panthers went 13-17, 8-12 in the Sun Belt, but Cobb said he likes the culture that Baldwin-Tener is developing. She is 58-92 at Georgia State, 253-234 in 16 years as a head coach.
The second conversation will be with men’s coach Ron Hunter, who has become the face of Georgia State athletics following his team’s play in the NCAA tournament. After rallying from 12 points down in the final three minutes to defeat Baylor in the second round, the Panthers were beaten by Xavier in the third round. Because of the way that Georgia State defeated Baylor – capped by R.J. Hunter hitting a 30-foot 3-pointer with seconds left, which caused Ron Hunter to fall off his stool – followed by his emotional response to the loss to Xavier, the Panthers and the Hunters became the darlings of the NCAA tournament.
Cobb said that he hopes to discuss with Hunter increasing his salary to a desirable amount that works for him and the school. Hunter has a base salary of $425,000 that will increase to $500,000 in May because of the team’s appearance in the NCAA tournament. It was Georgia State’s first trip to the NCAAs since Hunter took over before the 2011 season.
Cobb also hopes to discuss with Hunter what the university can do to continue Georgia State’s progression as a destination mid-major program. The Panthers went 25-9 overall, 17-1 in the Sun Belt in 2013-14 season, but lost to Louisiana-Lafayette in the finals of the Sun Belt tournament. The team went 25-10 this year, the third time the Panthers won at least 22 games in Hunter’s four seasons.
Cobb said the help can be anything from increasing the salaries of the assistant coaches, to improving travel, to trying to improve the facilities. The Sports Arena was formerly a student recreation center that was converted to a basketball arena.
Cobb said the conversation with Hunter will happen as soon as he is able. Hunter may have to undergo surgery to repair the partially torn Achilles tendon he suffered celebrating winning the Sun Belt tournament, which is why he coached from a stool in the NCAA tournament. He also is trying to help R.J. decide if he should leave school one year early for the NBA. Additionally, Hunter is scheduled to go to the Final Four next week for coaching conferences.
Hunter told the AJC on Sunday that quality of life means more to him than money.
“That’s not to say if there’s a job for me — a no-brainer — that I’d say no to looking at that, but there aren’t many of those,” he said. “I don’t have to chase money. My happiness means a lot more to me.”
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