A month ago, Louisiana Tech announced the contract extension of Bulldog baseball coach Lane Burroughs.
On Thursday, Tech VP and Director of Athletics Eric Wood announced the same for Bulldog basketball coach Eric Konkol.
It’s another strong move by Tech in securing one of its most successful head coaches’ long term; at least hopefully.
Konkol, the reigning Conference USA Coach of the Year, signed a new five-year deal that will run through the 2025-26 season.
“Louisiana Tech is a special place and I’m grateful to Dr. (Les) Guice and Dr. Wood for their trust in me and their commitment to our program,” said Konkol. “I’m excited to continue to work with our players, staff, administration, and supporters to reach our goals on and off the court.”
Entering his sixth year in Ruston, Konkol will return a number of puzzle pieces to last year’s success, including the new owner of a shiny gold medal in forward Kenneth Lofton, Jr. It’s a recipe for excitement and success in the hoops world at the TAC.
“Eric has done an outstanding job with our men’s basketball program during his time at Louisiana Tech,” said Wood. “During one of the most challenging years in college athletics history, he led the program to 24 wins, a divisional title and a deep run in the NIT. And he did it with a very young nucleus to this team.”
New court. New contract. New excitement.
Konkol and Co. will look to build upon a 24-win season and will do so while playing on the brand new resurfaced and re-design Karl Malone Court at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The return of Lofton, who led Team USA to the gold medal at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup in Riga, Latvia, won’t be the only reason Konkol is smiling in 2021-22. He has a lot of reasons coming off a late season run to the Final Four of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
Names like Cobe Williams; Isaiah Crawford; Amorie Archibald. And many more.
And as enjoyable as last season was for Tech fans, there are still higher goals for the Bulldog basketball program entering the upcoming year. Wood knows it. Konkol embraces it. And Tech fans somewhat expect it.
“Eric’s goals for this program align with our department’s goals for it – a Conference USA championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament,” said Wood. “We feel Eric and his coaching staff and this talented group of student-athletes can achieve those goals. We wanted to make a commitment to Eric and this program, and we are excited that he will be leading our program into the future.”
The new contract is a sign of a strong commitment by Tech to Konkol, who was also named the NABC District 11 Coach of the Year, the LABC Louisiana Major College Coach of the Year and the LSWA Louisiana Coach of the Year in 2020-21.
During his six seasons in Ruston, Konkol has guided Tech to a mark of 129-65, including a 67-39 record in Conference USA games. The Bulldogs have won 20-plus games in five of those seasons, the most 20-win seasons by any head coach in program history. His 129 career wins ranks fourth in program history.
PHOTO: by Roger Steinman.