STANFORD, Calif. — Johnny Dawkins made a point last season not to fret about his future and just coach Stanford back into a winner and an NCAA tournament team.
The rest took care of itself, and Dawkins was rewarded Wednesday with a contract extension for his impressive NCAA run this year and overall strides as Cardinal coach.
The number of years on his new deal weren’t announced by the school.
When the Cardinal reached the NCAA tournament last spring for the first time since 2008, athletic director Bernard Muir said Dawkins would continue to lead the program — but Muir also had said before the season that Dawkins’ job depended on the NCAA berth.
It was the first since Dawkins, the former top Duke assistant under mentor Mike Krzyzewski, took over as coach when Trent Johnson departed for LSU in the spring of 2008.
“Johnny Dawkins is a phenomenal educator and tireless worker,” Muir said in a statement. “Our on-court success last year combined with ongoing academic accomplishments and the overall development of our student-athletes illustrates Johnny’s ability to lead this program into the future.”
Dawkins, who turns 51 on Sunday and begins his seventh season, led the Cardinal to a 23-13 record and trip to the NCAA South Regional semifinals before losing to Dayton. Stanford won the NIT in 2012.
Stanford beat higher-seeded New Mexico and Kansas — the No. 2 seed — to advance past the first weekend of the tournament for just the second time since 2001.
“I want to thank athletic director Bernard Muir and the Stanford community for outstanding support and allowing our staff to do what we love,” Dawkins said. “Being part of the Stanford family is special and there is no place I’d rather be. We are committed to enhancing Stanford’s reputation of excellence in the classroom and on the court.”
Dawkins didn’t consider last season’s special run as redemption. He has been an athlete and coach long enough to understand the must-win business.
Now, he wants Stanford to become a regular NCAA participant again. Dawkins’ players praised his ability to focus on the task at hand each day, rather than worrying about his team’s NCAA chances or bracket — or on his own future and whether he would return this season.
Leading up to the tournament in March, Dawkins recalled how his father taught him not to be affected by outside influences. He said he hasn’t read anything about himself since one slipup as a sophomore at Duke.
“If you can’t handle reading the bad, you probably shouldn’t even read the good, just let it all go,” Dawkins said. “From that point on I never really kept up with what’s said about me, unless someone says it directly to my face, I have really no clue.”