Six months after coaching UCLA to the Pacific 10 basketball championship and one week after the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. penalized his program for recruiting violations, UCLA Athletic Director Peter Dalis announced Monday that Walt Hazzard has signed a self-renewing contract extension.
The new agreement is a two-year extension through the 1989-90 season and expires March 31, 1990, but contains a roll-over provision, which means that it automatically renews itself after every year. In effect, the roll-over provision gives Hazzard, 45, a perpetual three-year contract.
Such contracts are not unusual at UCLA, where football Coach Terry Donahue's contract rolls over every year, thereby remaining a five-year contract year after year. Hazzard's roll-over deal, however, indicates that he has regained some backing from the UCLA administration.
"Walt has done a fine job of rebuilding the foundation of UCLA basketball," Dalis said. "We feel the future of Bruin basketball figures to be very exciting."
Hazzard's original contract, a three-year deal that he signed in the spring of 1984, was extended for another year after his first season, when the Bruins finished 21-12 and won the National Invitation Tournament.
But UCLA did not extend it after a 15-14 record in Hazzard's second season, which meant that at the end of last season, Hazzard had only one year remaining on his contract.
The Bruins finished 25-7 last season, won the Pacific 10 Conference post-season tournament and made their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1982-83 before losing to Wyoming in a second-round game at Salt Lake City. Hazzard was chosen the Pac-10's Coach of the Year. The NCAA had launched an investigation into Hazzard's program at the same time he was seeking a new contract.
Both Hazzard and Dalis said that the NCAA investigations, which resulted in only in minor penalties (the loss of two basketball scholarships in 1988-89), did not delay the contract extension.
"I got a lot of support from the administration, from Chancellor (Charles) Young and Pete Dalis, during the investigation," Hazzard said. "They were behind me 1,000% and they let me know it. That told me something. They said I was their coach."
Hazzard, whose base salary last season was $50,000 in addition to $13,500 in appearance fees, said he received a "substantial increase" in his new contract with built-in raises after every season.
In three years at UCLA since replacing Larry Farmer as coach, Hazzard's record is 61-33. He is the fifth UCLA basketball coach since John Wooden retired in 1975. Wooden, who never had more than a one-year contract, had a top salary of $30,000.