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Hartford’s John Gallagher receives contract extension through 2018

Sep 19, 2013, 12:40 AM EDT

Wes Cole, John Gallagher AP

Despite an overall record of 17-14 (10-6 America East), the 2012-13 season was a historic one for the Hartford Hawks. Why? The program made its first-ever postseason appearance as a Division I member, earning a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. As a result head coach John Gallagher was rewarded with a contract extension through the 2017-18 season, with the school announcing the news on Wednesday.

“We are extremely confident in the direction of our men’s basketball program and we’re excited to see what Coach Gallagher and his staff can build in the future,” director of athletics Pat Meiser said in the release. “The success we had this season along with what we have returning next year is very encouraging. I am pleased with the level of competitiveness and am confident that that will only continue to rise.”

Those 17 wins matched the school record for wins in a season, with the 1989-90 squad (Vin Baker was a freshman on that team) being the last to win that many games. And with this year’s team returning more than 90 percent of its points and rebounds from last season, including first team All-America East selection Mark Nwakamma (14.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg), the Hawks could potentially establish a new school record for wins in a season.

And they’ll attempt to do so in a league that looks slightly different, as Boston University left America East to join the Patriot League with provisional Division I member UMass-Lowell taking their place as America East’s ninth member. However, even with that switch  Stony Brook and Vermont are still around, as is reigning America East tournament champion Albany. Hartford has the pieces needed to contend this season, and the administration believes it has the coach who can lead the program to heights it has yet to reach at the Division I level.

“I’d like to thank Walter Harrison for his faith in me,” Gallagher stated. “I would also like to thank Pat Meiser for the support she has provided to me and the program throughout the last three years.

“My family and I are grateful that we have an administration that is behind our growing program and has the same vision and the same mission as the staff here. I’m really exciting about the years to come.”