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All he does is win. UK rewards coach’s ‘consistent excellence’ with raise, contract extension.

UK volleyball coach Craig Skinner emotional about new contract

Kentucky volleyball coach Craig Skinner talks about his new contract extension through the 2023-24 season. The Wildcats open the 2019 season in the Utah Classic against Cal Poly on Friday, Aug. 30.
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Kentucky volleyball coach Craig Skinner talks about his new contract extension through the 2023-24 season. The Wildcats open the 2019 season in the Utah Classic against Cal Poly on Friday, Aug. 30.

Craig Skinner has done nothing but win since taking over as Kentucky’s head volleyball coach in 2005.

As he enters his 15th season on the job this week, the Wildcats are making sure he sticks around a little longer.

Skinner has signed a contract extension through the 2023-24 school year and received a raise of $25,000 per year.

“Craig Skinner began his tenure here in 2004 and quickly turned Kentucky volleyball into a model of consistency. Now, thanks in large part to his leadership, this program is a model of consistent excellence after back-to-back SEC championships,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a news release announcing the contract extension. “Just as importantly, he is singularly committed to the holistic growth of the women he coaches. We are proud to have Craig and the Skinner family as part of our UK family and thankful he will add to his legacy at UK for seasons to come.”

Skinner has directed the Wildcats to 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments — a feat only nine other schools in the nation have achieved. That run includes four Sweet Sixteen appearances since 2009 and back-to-back Southeastern Conference titles in 2017 and 2018.

Coach Craig Skinner discusses UK volleyball's exhibition with Western Kentucky at Dunbar High School, UK senior Leah Edmond’s alma mater. Donations benefited the Bone Marrow and Cancer Foundation. Ex-WKU star Alyssa Cavanaugh is battling cancer.

Skinner, who was named SEC Coach of the Year the past two seasons, is 328-118 overall at Kentucky, having led the Wildcats to 20 or more wins in 10 of the past 12 seasons. He is the winningest coach in program history.

Under the new contract, Skinner’s base salary increases from $275,000 to $300,000 per year.

Skinner’s most recent previous contract, signed in June 2018, promised the coach a $75,000 longevity bonus this summer. Going forward, he will receive a $25,000 longevity bonus each year he remains at Kentucky through 2024.

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Craig Skinner is 328-118 in 14 seasons as Kentucky’s head coach. Alex Slitz aslitz@herald-leader.com

The UK coach also is eligible for bonuses based on the team’s academic performance and its level of advancement in postseason play.

Kentucky, ranked No. 7 in the national preseason coaches’ poll, opens its 2019 season this weekend at the Utah Classic in Salt Lake City, where it will face Cal Poly and Utah on Friday and St. Mary’s on Saturday.

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