By way of Louisiana-Monroe, a mini-spate of Group of Five football coaches getting extended continues.
Last week, Ball State announced a two-year contract extension for Mike Neu. Around that same time, Louisiana-Monroe confirmed that its head football coach, Matt Viator, has signed an extended deal as well. As was the case with Neu, Viator’s extension is for two years.
That leaves the coach signed with the Warhawks through the 2022 season.
“I’m grateful for the confidence that [athletic director] Scott McDonald and the University administration have in our football program,” Viator said in a statement. “Over the last four years, we’ve put a lot of time and effort into building a solid foundation for the program.
“We’re disappointed with the way last season ended, but we’re not discouraged. We know many hurdles still remain, but we’re headed down the right path of achieving our ultimate goals of competing for Sun Belt Championships and playing in bowl games.”
In four years at the Sun Belt Conference school, Viator has gone 19-29 overall and 15-17 in SBC play. ULM was bowl-eligible in 2018 but didn’t get a postseason invite. Last season, ULM could’ve clinched a bowl berth but suffered a one-point loss to rival Louisiana in the regular-season finale.
ULM has played in just one postseason game as an FBS program, the 2021 Independence Bowl.
“We’re fortunate to have Matt Viator at the helm of the ULM football program,” McDonald said in his statement. “He is widely recognized as one of the top head coaches in the Sun Belt Conference. Our program has made great strides over the last four seasons, the last two years in particular, narrowly missing becoming bowl eligible in consecutive seasons.
“Continuity is key for on-the-field success, so with the contract extension, we wanted to acknowledge and reward Coach V for the stability, excitement and competitiveness, he has brought to our program. Also, during these uncertain times with the COVID-19 pandemic, I cannot think of a better coach to provide steady and decisive leadership to our program. His primary focus remains ensuring the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaching and support staffs.
“Coach V has a vision and game plan for building a championship-caliber program, and I’m confident that our University will be rewarded for its commitment.”
There is no word on whether a raise is involved in the extension. Last year, Viator was paid $390,000 in guaranteed compensation. That number was ninth of the 10 SBC coaches listed in the USA Today coaches salary database.