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Ball State inks James Whitford to contract extension

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Whitford's bunch won 21 games last season.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The architect of last season's fourth biggest turnaround in Division 1 college basketball was rewarded on Monday. Ball State's James Whitford signed a contract extension that will run through April 2021.

Ball State's turnaround under Whitford's guidance has been dramatic. In his first season after leaving the Arizona Wildcats program for Muncie, the Cardinals tallied a 5-25 mark, the worst in school history. A year later BSU improved to 7-23. Last season saw a major resurgence in the Ball State men's basketball program. The Cardinals won 21 games, including 10-8 in conference play, and reached the quarterfinals of the CIT. The 21 wins marked the most for Ball State since the 2001-02 season.

With the extension, Whitford's base salary will remain at $275,000 annually. That ranks behind Saul Phillips at Ohio, Keith Dambrot at Akron, Michael Huger at Bowling Green, and Mark Montgomery at Northern Illinois.

A formal announcement is expected Tuesday.