After meeting what athletics director Andrea Seger referred to as "the goal we set for the program," Bill Lynch has been given a one year contract extension as head football coach for Ball State after claiming a piece of the Mid-American Conference West title.
Lynch's is now signed as Ball State's coach through Jan. 31, 2004.
Seger said it wasn't until the end of the season that she made the decision to extend Lynch's contract. She also said that her decision came mostly after Lynch met the goal she and Lynch set for the program -- the goal of winning a MAC West title.
Despite the fact Ball State ended the season under .500 for the fifth straight year and the fact that the Cardinals are sharing the title with two other schools, Seger is still pleased that Lynch met the goal.
"There are several ways to look at it," she said. "We aren't happy with the 5-6 record. But if you look at the program and where we are, we are a much more improved team.
"We focused on a specific goal this year and that goal was to compete for the West divisional championship," Seger said. "Coach Lynch met the goal that we set for the program."
The extension, announced Monday afternoon, was added to a contract that already had Lynch slotted as Ball State's coach during the 2002 season.
According to Seger, extending a contract ahead of time, as she has done in Lynch's case, is normal practice.
"Typically we don't let our contracts run all the way down to one year," the seventh year athletics director said. "In some of the sports it's important that we don't let the contracts run down."
Another reason Seger said it is important to have a coach on contract for more than a year at a time is for recruiting's sake.
"Recruits want to know you are committed to your coach for a couple of years at least," she said.
And, even though Seger explained it is important to have a coach on more than just a year-long contract, she also explained it is not out of the ordinary from what she has done in the past as athletic director, to extend for only a year at a time.
"If you look at the history of what I've done with coaches, this isn't that different," she said. "What we are doing with a one year extension is pretty standard stuff.
"The only time we deal with multiple-year contracts is when we win a championship," Seger said.
When asked if there were any stipulations in Lynch's contract such as a quota of wins Lynch must meet, Seger simply said there were, "not any."
Lynch's contract was extended with a 31-47 record as Ball State's coach and a 67-59-3 career record as a collegiate coach. This season's share of the MAC West title is the first piece of a title Lynch has earned since he guided Ball State to a MAC Championship in 1996.
For Lynch, an extension will serve as an opportunity for him to continue with his plan to claim another MAC championship down the road.
Lynch said, "The university's desire to continue to upgrade facilities plus the overall commitment toward football will help us to continue to compete within the Mid-American Conference.
"The community has been supportive, and the university administration has an understanding of what it takes to compete at the highest level of collegiate football. We were happy with the success of this season, and proud to be able to send our seniors out with a share of the championship."