A decision four years in the making apparently did not require much discussion.
University of New Mexico women’s basketball coach Yvonne Sanchez said she agreed in principle to a four-year contract extension Friday after a short meeting with athletic director Paul Krebs and senior associate AD Janice Ruggiero.
Krebs did not confirm the length of the extension, though he told the Journal that four years was part of the conversation. Krebs said details remain to be worked out and nothing is yet in writing, but a contract could be finalized in the next few weeks.
Sanchez, who has no agent, said it is her understanding that terms of the contract are expected to be largely identical to the first one she signed in 2011, when she succeeded Don Flanagan as head coach.
“It was probably the shortest contract negotiation Paul’s ever been through,” Sanchez said. “It took about 10 minutes.”
Krebs said a longer discussion centered around where UNM’s women’s program has been and its outlook for the immediate future.
“I’ve spoken to a number of people outside our league,” Krebs said, “and based on what I’ve heard, there’s a great sense of optimism about our program. Between our returning players and the new additions, the future looks pretty bright.”
Sanchez, who earns $264,000 annually with various performance incentives, said she did not seek a raise but wanted a four-year extension. Her staff, including assistant coaches Anthony Turner, Joseph Anders and Amy Beggin, will receive their current salaries next season.
“I know we’re in a bit of a budget crunch with scholarship values increasing,” Sanchez said. “We’re one of the best-compensated staffs in the Mountain West, so I’m comfortable with things staying the same. Paul and Janice have been very fair.”
Sanchez, who served as an assistant coach to Flanagan for 11 years, has posted a 60-66 record in her first four seasons.
Player defections prior to her hiring and a rash of injuries afterward plagued Sanchez’s first UNM teams, but the Lobos rallied from a 1-7 start to finish 21-13 in 2014-15, advancing to the Mountain West Conference tournament final and Round 2 of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
The Lobos have four starters returning for next season, and their incoming recruiting class has been rated as the best among Mountain West programs. They’ll also get two experienced players back in guard Alex Lapeyrolerie (medical redshirt) and post Whitney Johnson (Mormon mission).
“We’re definitely still building, but I feel like the program’s in a good place,” Sanchez said. “I’m really excited to have (the contract extension) settled and can’t wait to see how far we can take things over the next four years.”
Sanchez is a Los Alamos native who played high school basketball for Flanagan at Eldorado. Her brother Roy coaches boys basketball at the school, and her parents live in Albuquerque.