John Hardt, vice president and director of athletics at the University of Richmond, answered some questions from The Times-Dispatch about the state of the Spiders’ basketball program.

Question: Will Coach Mooney return for the 2019-20 season?

Answer: Yes, Coach Mooney will return as our head men’s basketball coach for the 2019-2020 season.

Question: Who made that call?

Answer: I made the call that coach Mooney will return for the 2019-2020 season. These decisions are critically important and they can’t be made in a vacuum, so after consultation with the university’s leadership, coach Mooney will continue to lead the Spider basketball program.

Question: Was the decision primarily based on the fact that coach Mooney has three more years on his contract, or other considerations?

Answer: No, the decision was primarily based on the potential for coach Mooney’s 2019-2020 team to be successful and to compete for an A-10 championship and a tournament bid.

As we look to next season, we have some very talented veterans returning in all-A-10 players Jacob Gilyard and Grant Golden to go along with a talented group of young players such as Nathan Cayo, Andre Gustavson, Jake Wojcik, Sol Koureissi, and others. This group with be joined by a healthy Nick Sherod and a promising transfer, Blake Francis, so if we work hard in the offseason to get bigger, stronger, better and everyone stays healthy, I expect that we will be a very good team next season.

Question: What level of buyout is associated with the final three years of coach Mooney’s deal?

Answer: As you know, the university does not disclose those contract terms.

Question: What did you learn about UR supporters through this season?

Answer: We are fortunate to have a very passionate and loyal fan base that shares the same high expectations for our Spider men’s basketball program as I do. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Our fans are some of the best, and we sincerely appreciate all of their support and look forward to providing them a successful men’s basketball program that is consistently competing for A-10 championships and NCAA tournament bids.

Question: What are the expectations for the men’s basketball program moving forward?

Answer: The expectations that coach Mooney and I discuss on a regular basis are for our basketball program to compete at the highest level. After several years with no NCAA tournament appearances, coach Mooney and I have talked about our strong desire to return to the NCAA tournament. Coach Mooney and I share a sense of urgency, and we are on the same page in terms of expectations for the program. In that regard, we are both committed to working hard and doing everything we can to make sure that Spider success on the hardwood happens sooner rather than later.

joconnor@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6233

@RTDjohnoconnor

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