Oakland hoops coach Greg Kampe, entering Year 36, receives three-year extension

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Oakland head coach Greg Kampe  recently signed a three-year contract extension that will take him through the 2022-23 season, he told The News this week.

Oakland University men's basketball coach Greg Kampe is entering his 36th season on the job, and he doesn't appear to have any eye on retirement.

Kampe recently signed a three-year contract extension that will take him through the 2022-23 season, he told The News this week.

He was set to enter this season in the final year of an extension signed in 2016.

Under the new deal, he'll receive a base salary of around $306,000, with bonuses that could take him close to $400,000. Under his old deal, Kampe earned an annual salary of $288,000, with no specific bonus structure. His bonus structure previously had been at the discretion of Oakland's athletic director.

Kampe, 63, is the third-longest-tenured head coach in Division I, behind Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, who is entering his 44th season, and Duke's Krzyzewski, entering his 40th. Sixth on the list is Michigan State's Tom Izzo (25th season) and 18th is Western Michigan's Steve Hawkins (17th).

"I will tell you that, pride is a great word," Kampe said Wednesday, after a round of golf at Dearborn Coutry Club (he shot 81). I look at it as being very fortunate to spend a career at one place, and the place has changed. In many ways, it wasn't one place. You look, we went from Division II to Division I, one league to the next league, there's been change and there's been challenges.

"And I've gotten to grow as a professional along with the university, a university that's gone from a small university with very few buildings to a vibrant, no-longer-commuter campus. The university's really grown, and the athletic department and basketball program has grown along with the university.

"That's something special and unique. To be a part of that is very rewarding."

So, how much longer does he want to coach?

"I come to work every day wanting to make Oakland great," Kampe said. "And as long as I have that feeling every day, I'll work till I drop over."

Kampe is 618-455 at Oakland, which he's taken from Division II to Division I, and then from the Summit League to the Horizon League.

The Golden Grizzlies are regularly a preseason pick to win the Horizon League, but have had several heartbreaks in the conference tournament and hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since going back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011. The Golden Grizzlies haven't played any postseason games since making the NIT's second round in 2016-17.

Oakland was 16-17 last season, its final game a last-second loss to Northern Kentucky in the Horizon League semifinals at Little Caesars Arena.

Kampe's program then had a tumultuous offseason, with the transfers of starting guards Braden Norris to Loyola-Chicago and Jaevin Cumberland to Cincinnati.

Oakland enters this season with 10 new players on the roster, including six out of high school and four college transfers. Kampe has an addition to the coaching staff as well, luring Jeff Smith for the job of associate head coach, from Central Michigan. Smith replaces Dan Hipsher, who retired in June.

"Last year, we were talking about the biggest rebuild," Kampe said. "And now a year later, we're in an even bigger rebuild.

"But we've leveled expectations on these kids. We have two seniors who are two of the best players in the conference (Xavier Hill-Mais and Brad Brechting). We're not just going to roll over and say, 'Oh, we can't do it.' We're not going to have that excuse."

Oakland opens the regular season at home Nov. 5 against Goshen College, before heading to Florida to play in the Sunshine Slam.

Kampe again has scheduled a tough nonconference schedule, with games at Maryland on Nov. 16 and at Syracuse on Dec. 18. It also has extended its annual series with Michigan State, the teams meeting this year on Dec. 14 at LCA.

Oakland then opens conference play Saturday, Dec. 28, at rival Detroit Mercy, an early meeting between the schools which has drawn criticism from fans of both schools, because the game falls during the holiday break.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984