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UD to address upgrading Jabir’s contract

University of Dayton athletics director Tim Wabler and Flyers women’s basketball coach Jim Jabir both confirmed late Tuesday that they will be meeting soon to address upgrading Jabir’s contract with the university.

“We’re all over it,” Wabler said. “He’s a hot commodity now and I know someone will make a run at him. We want Jim Jabir to be at the university for a long time to come. He’s just a perfect fit.”

Jabir led the 18th-ranked Flyers — the sixth-youngest Division I team in the nation this season — to a 28-3 record and into the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they lost, 84-70, to seventh-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y.

It was UD’s fourth-straight trip to the NCAA tournament. Over the past six years, the Flyers have won 143 games. This season they had been nationally ranked since mid-November.

One looming coaching vacancy is at Ohio State, where Jim Foster was let go — “terminated without cause” is the way the university worded it — last week.

In 11 seasons with the Buckeyes, Foster went 279-82 — that’s a 72.2 winning percentage — and took his team to 10 straight NCAA tournaments . He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times in that span, his teams won six regular- season Big Ten titles and four Big Ten tournaments and his players won eight straight Big Ten Player of the Year awards (Jessica Davenport won three, Janel Lavender four and Samantha Prahalis one.)

But his teams had a lot of early exits in the NCAA tournament. Three times they lost in the first found, four times in the second and none ever made it beyond the Sweet 16.

When the Bucks went 18-13 this season and failed to get an NCAA bid, Foster was forced out.

If OSU would show interest in Jabir, I think he would certainly look at the job. It’s one of the best in the country, offering both more pay and exposure than does UD.

And yet I’m not sure Jabir would take it if it were offered. I don’t know — especially after dealing with some health issues a while back — that he wants to jump back into that meat grinder that the Buckeyes’ job now is.

OSU has made it clear it expects its women’s team to go deep into the NCAA tournament and make some Final Fours. Anything less would be considered a failure and the same fate would befall the new coach that did in Foster.

Jabir made a wrong career decision once before. After winning at Marquette, he jumped to Providence because it was a Big East school, but the program was underfunded and had second-citizen status and he didn’t succeed. He ended up canned.

After a season as an assistant at Colorado, he took over the Dayton program in 2003 and resurrected a moribund program. Before Jabir got to UD, the Flyer women had had one winning season in 10 years.

In August 2010, UD ripped up a five-year extension Jabir had just signed the year before and gave him a new six-year contract. At the time Jabir said the deal put him in the middle of the Atlantic 10 coaches in annual salary.

That’s about to change.

He has built a perennial winner at UD and his teams are garnering more national publicity for the school than any other squad on campus. He’s one of the best coaches in the college game right now and on top of that he’s as good of a man as you’ll find.

He is a perfect fit at UD and Wabler said he will be offered a contract upgrade that recognizes that fact.

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