HOUSTON — Whenever and however this fairytale Final Four ride ends for FAU, there is one guarantee: Dusty May will not be leaving the program when the season is over.
May will coach FAU next season and is set to sign a lucrative long-term contract to stay with the Owls, he told CBS Sports on Thursday.
"I love it here. I love our players, I love our staff and the only thing I've been focused on since the beginning was doing the best job for our team," May told CBS Sports. "I was doing my job and I never had any intent of leaving."
May is 46 and finishing up his fifth season with the Owls. He was contacted by multiple search firms reaching out on behalf of many power-conference schools in February and March, all of which gauged his interest in vacancies or soon-to-be-open job opportunities across the country. He passed on interviewing with all of them.
"The most attractive thing about FAU is it's ours," May said. "We've built our identity, we've built amazing team culture and those are things most important to me. ... We spent five years developing real, genuine relationships and it's hard to restart and do those things again. I have a lot of loyalty to our players who've given everything, sacrificed. ... That's what make this group so successful, that we all give and no one's thinking about taking all the time."
The deal, which is expected to be worth north of $1 million annually, will be a major financial commitment for a program and a school that has drastically altered its reputation in this NCAA Tournament. At 35-3, the Owls have the best record in the sport and are guaranteed to finish with more wins than any other school this season. FAU is also upgrading conferences: it will be leaving C-USA for the American Athletic Conference later this year.
"We could not be more grateful and excited to have coach May lead this program into the future," FAU athletic director Brian White told CBS Sports. "The way he leads this program is incredible from a wins and losses perspective, but just as important is the culture he builds, the student-athlete experience he contributes to, the people he brings to FAU. We're so proud of our men's basketball program and are extremely excited about the opportunity to have Dusty leading it into the future."
The salary pool for FAU's assistants will also be significantly increased, White told CBS Sports.
May's talks with White and others at the university have been positive about the guarantees over facility upgrades and an increase in NIL for FAU's players. May also noted that, organically, this FAU team has earned everything on its own in every little way — which is why the ninth-seeded Owls are here in Houston and will play No. 5 seed San Diego State on Saturday night for a spot in the national championship game.
"Our players are becoming increasingly more productive in the NIL space," May said. "Our guys have done it the way NIL is supposed to be. They went out and marketed themselves, and they've made a little bit of money on it. There has never been a point where they've been told 'Well give you this amount of money to stay here.'"
Extensive overhauls are coming this offseason and in the years to follow to FAU's basketball arena, athletic offices and multi-sport facility, White said. Earlier this season, the men's basketball program received a $7.5 million gift that hasn't been used yet. That money will allow further upgrades and updates to the Owls' aging facilities. In total, approximately $11 million has been raised for the basketball programs in the past two seasons at FAU, and more than $15 million is available to be spent in the months and years to come.
"We've got brand new locker rooms and new video board and updates," White said. "With the facility, we were kind of starting from scratch. The earlier gains were significant, but this new $7.5 million gift I think will go a long way. We are going to make the arena as great as it can be."
White and May agreed weeks ago to put all contract talks on hold as FAU made its push to the NCAA Tournament, but nobody could have envisioned this story playing out so dramatically, as May has the Owls two wins away from arguably the most unlikely national championship in basketball history.
FAU 2023 Final Four gear now available
The Owls are headed to the first Final Four in school history. Celebrate with commemorative t-shirts, hats and more. Show your pride for the boys from Boca Raton here.
We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.