UC Irvine basketball Coach Bill Mulligan announced Friday he will stay at Irvine, thus ending speculation he might pursue other coaching positions, including the post vacated by Stan Morrison at USC.
Mulligan, 56, signed a five-year contract with UCI in 1984 and is near to signing a two-year extension that would make him the Anteater coach until 1991, according to UCI Athletic Director John Caine.
Mulligan cited happiness with his living situation and the construction of an on-campus arena as reasons for his decision to stay at UCI.
Mulligan and his wife, Dorothy, moved into a home in University Hills on the Irvine campus last July. The Bren Events Center, a 5,000-seat arena, is expected to open at UCI next January, in time for the opening of the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. season.
"I'm happy here," Mulligan said. "There are a lot of people here who've been nice to me. And I think we've finally reached the point where the students here care."
Mulligan was named the PCAA's Coach of the Year this season as Irvine went 17-13 and advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament before losing to Brigham Young. In six seasons at UCI, Mulligan's record is 105-69.
The Anteaters beat nationally ranked Nevada Las Vegas twice this season and defeated UCLA in the first round of the NIT. Those three victories are among the biggest in Mulligan's tenure at Irvine, and help build momentum for the opening of the Bren Events Center next season.
"I've waited a long time for that arena," Mulligan said.