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Holy Cross, Willard agree on five-year extension

Worcester, MA (Sports Network) - Holy Cross and head men's basketball coach Ralph Willard agreed on a new five-year contract extension on Thursday.

The new contract will keep Willard as the head coach of the Crusaders through the 2012-2013 season.

"Ralph has really elevated this program since he arrived," said athletic director Richard Regan Jr. "When we hired him eight years ago, I thought he would fit in very well and time has proven that. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber. I really believe that he is one of the best coaches in college basketball today."

Willard has been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year three times during his tenure at Holy Cross, taking the honor most recently last season. In addition, he was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award in 2005, and the Clair Bee National Coach of the Year award in 2003.

Willard's teams have posted an overall record of 159-89 during his tenure with the Crusaders. Last season, Holy Cross went 25-9 with the team winning the Patriot League regular season and tournament titles, and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time under Willard.

Willard's career record stands at 303-213, including four years at Western Kentucky University (81-42 / 1990-1994) and five seasons at the University of Pittsburgh (63-82 / 1994-1999).

09/06 17:45:03 ET