Cleveland State gives hoop coach Gary Waters new 7-year contract through 2018-19

In six seasons, coach Gary Waters has raised Cleveland State's profile among the nation's mid-major programs.

On the eve of his seventh season, Waters was rewarded for his success.

The school signed Waters to a new seven-year contract on Thursday, a package that runs through the 2018-19 season. Waters' new deal replaces the one he signed with the school in 2009.

Waters has led the Vikings to the postseason in four of the past five seasons. He took Cleveland State to its second NCAA tournament in 2009, when the Vikings shocked Wake Forest in the first round.

"Coach Waters is a highly respected leader whose teams excel on and off the basketball court," Cleveland State president Ronald M. Berkman said. "Coach Waters fully expects his students-athletes to give nothing less in the classroom then they give on the basketball court. We are grateful that coach Waters has made the commitment to realize his goal of building a storied basketball program at CSU."

Waters, who previously coached at Rutgers and Kent State, is 122-82 at Cleveland State. The Vikings will open the 2012-13 season at home on Friday against Grambling.

Cleveland State has had four 20-plus-win seasons and won two Horizon League championships (2009, 2011) under Waters, named the league's top coach in 2008.

"I am excited about the commitment that Cleveland State has made to me and my family," Waters said. "With this vote of confidence, it will allow me to basically finish out my career here at Cleveland State. I love Cleveland and I love Cleveland State University and it's a marriage made in heaven. I look forward to the challenges and goals we will set to continue to make this a very successful program."

Of the 19 seniors who have come through Cleveland State's program with Waters in charge, all have graduated.

Waters has a 293-217 career record in 15 seasons, and his teams have gone to the postseason 15 times.