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UB's Felisha Legette-Jack says no talks on contract extension

CLEVELAND — The UB administration put fans of its successful men's basketball program at ease on Thursday by signing head coach Nate Oats to a five-year contract extension that makes Oats one of the highest-paid coaches in the MAC.

The lingering question was whether the university would strike a similar deal with women's coach Felisha Legette-Jack, who has guided the Bulls to the best season in program history.

On Friday, Legette-Jack led the UB women to their 11th straight victory, an 85-53 win over Western Michigan that vaulted the Bulls into Saturday morning's MAC Tournament championship game against Central Michigan at Quicken Loans Arena.

Like the men's team, the UB women were seeking their second MAC title in three years. The difference was that the women, now 27-4, are virtually assured of getting an NCAA at-large berth even if they falter in the league final.

That's a rare achievement in Big 4 basketball. The only local women's team ever to receive an at-large berth was St. Bonaventure two years ago under Jim Crowley, who left two months later for a Big East job at Providence College.

Legette-Jack said she has had no talks about a new contract with the university administration. Like Oats, she received a five-year extension, at a reported salary of $239,000 after leading the Bulls to the NCAA Tournament two years ago.

"No one's talked to me," Legette-Jack said after Friday's win. "We're excited about where we are right now. We're excited about what we're building here. I certainly love Buffalo. I love being in close proximity to my mom, who's in Syracuse battling Alzheimer's.

"But we haven't talked to anybody. No one's talked to me. We're just going to continue to do what we're doing. That is the facts. I don't have any other thing to say. This is the place I would love to be, to spend the rest of my career."

She's done great things at UB. In 2012, she took over a women's program that had gone 75-182 in the previous nine seasons. After winning 12 games in 2012-13, the win total has risen every year -- to 17, 19, 20, 22 and then 27 and counting this season.

Jobs will open after the season. There's already a women's opening at Boston College, where Legette-Jack began her coaching career as an assistant in 1991. She's 51, with 16 years experience as a head coach. If she intends to make the jump, this would be an ideal time.

The question is whether UB will make a pre-emptive strike, as it did for Oats before he had a chance to win another MAC title.

"It has to be a conversation from the president, that's for sure," Legette-Jack said.

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