Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle didn't necessarily want to hassle Leon Rice, but he also didn't want his men's basketball coach going anywhere.
Coyle first approached Rice about a contract extension a month ago, then again at the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio, and finally last week while Coyle was on a family vacation in Florida.
On Wednesday, Boise State announced it has reached an agreement with Rice to extend his contract two more seasons, through the 2017-18 campaign.
"It's a huge step, Leon's obviously done some special things here," Coyle said. "If you can find the best fit for your program, you can have a lot of success, and I think Leon's the right fit."
Rice, who had three years remaining on his original contract, led Boise State to a 21-11 season and its first at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. He is the first coach in school history to win 20 or more games in two of his first three seasons.
Rice's overall record is 56-41.
The new deal increases Rice's pay from $440,000 to $482,100, and it will increase by 3 percent annually. He'll also earn an automatic one-year extension each time Boise State wins 20 games or reaches the NCAA Tournament.
"We're so excited about being able to build a basketball program here," Rice said. "We feel like the sky's the limit here. If we can keep growing this thing, there is no glass ceiling."
Rice and Coyle said there will be a larger pool of money for assistant salaries, similar to the more than $40,000 bump in Rice's contract. Rice noted the similarity with the way the football program has supported Chris Petersen with more pay for assistants, and a deal that adds an automatic year to his deal for reaching eight wins.
"That's a huge, huge sign for our Boise State basketball program," Rice said.
With only one senior departing, the team's top six scorers returning and a new contract in place, Boise State realizes it has set a high bar for 2013-14. Coyle believes Rice's experience at Gonzaga, a place routinely known for setting a high standard, will help.
"What's the next step for Leon as a coach? It's, 'How do you manage those expectations?' " Coyle said. "He's had great experience at Gonzaga. We'll have to learn how to manage them, but kids want to come here to compete at a high level, and they'll have that chance."
Rice's new deal, which also includes an increased buyout from $50,000 to $175,000, is subject to State Board of Education approval next week.
Saying he wants to have "a really special year next year," Rice hopes to continue to take big steps forward, just like at the place where he had a front-row seat for a decade.
"I had that model for me at Gonzaga. It's harder to build it than jump around, but it's what I value," he said.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420 Twitter: @IDS_southorn