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Hurley, Turner Thorne extensions approved, locked in for ASU’s future

Arizona State forward Mickey Mitchell (3) and Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley celebrate following their NCAA college basketball game against Utah Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Arizona State won 80-77. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

TEMPE — The future of Arizona State’s basketball programs is solidified now more than ever.

The Arizona Board of Regents unanimously approved contract extensions for men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley and women’s basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne on Thursday.

Hurley, who is in the midst of his third season with the Sun Devils, has led the program to as high as the No. 3 ranking in the Associated Pres Top 25, tied for the highest ranking in school history. Although the Sun Devils dropped out of the ranking this week, a 12-0 preseason run under Hurley has given ASU fans hope that the team will reach the NCAA Tournament this year for the first time since the 2014-15 season, and the second time in the last decade.

Hurley has also demonstrated some recruiting chops by luring five-star recruit Taeshon Cherry. Cherry verbally committed to ASU in January and is just the third five-star recruit for the Sun Devils since James Harden.

“He’s demonstrated and achieved the transition that we hoped he’d achieve, which was to return our basketball program to a level of significant competitiveness,” said ASU president Michael Crow. “When we find a coach that we want to keep, which is the case for Mr. Hurley, we then want to make a contract adjustment. This is a contract adjustment now reflective of the fact that we believe the choice made by (ASU vice president for university athletics) Ray Anderson has proven to be a very good choice.

“We’re looking now for a long-term relationship with this coach as a program builder. What we’re interested in now is building something that we’ve never had at ASU before — a consistent, ongoing, multi-decadal competitive basketball program.”

Hurley’s contract extension now guarantees him $2.1 million with additional performance- based incentives for five years — the maximum length of contract allowed under ABOR. Under the extension terms, Hurley would earn an additional $50,000 for winning the Pac-12 regular-season title and acquire a $100,000 salary raise if ASU reaches the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

Hurley tweeted when news first broke of his extension, thanking Crow, Anderson and and ASU administrator Dave Cohen for trusting him and the future of the program.

Hurley’s contract will expire on June 30, 2022.

Turner Thorne has led the women’s basketball team since 1996, with the exception of a short leave of absence from 2011 to 2012. She is the winningest coach in the program’s history and has led ASU to the postseason 17 times in the last 18 seasons. Thorne was also named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2016.

ABOR voted unanimously to approve a pay raise and contract extension for Turner Thorne. The extension signed Turner Thorne until April 15, 2019, with an additional $20,000 salary raise. Her total salary will be $444,200, effective July 1.

“Her women are unbelievable student athletes with a 100% graduation rate,” Crow said. “It’s a program we’re very proud of and a coach we’re very proud of.”

Both ASU programs will be in action this weekend. The men’s team will host USC Thursday and UCLA Sunday, and the women’s team will travel to Los Angeles to take on USC and UCLA as well.