Kevin Keatts Reportedly Named NC State Head Coach, Leaves UNC Wilmington

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2017

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Kevin Keatts of the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks reacts in the first half against the Duke Blue Devils during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

NC State reportedly reached a deal with Kevin Keatts to become its new head men's basketball coach Friday, meaning he will depart UNC Wilmington.

ESPN's Jeff Goodman was the first to report the move. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports later provided confirmation.

Goodman added that the contract is for six years at $2.2 million per season.

The 44-year-old Keatts spent three seasons as UNC Wilmington's head coach, posting an overall record of 72-28.

He led the Seahawks to the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons by twice winning the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season and conference titles.

UNC Wilmington went 29-6 in 2016-17 and fell 76-71 as a No. 12 seed to fifth-seeded Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tourney.

NC State went just 15-17 this season, including a 4-14 mark in ACC play. That led to the firing of head coach Mark Gottfried after six seasons.

The Wolfpack also missed out on the NCAA tournament in 2015-16, but Gottfried took them to the tourney for four consecutive years prior to that, including two Sweet 16 berths.

ESPN college basketball analyst and brother of late, legendary NC State head coach Jim Valvano, Bob Valvano, endorsed Keatts as the next head man at NC State, per ESPN Charlotte:

Prior to his three-year stint at UNC Wilmington, Keatts was an assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville and was part of the Cardinals' national title in 2013.

The two-time CAA Coach of the Year will now have an opportunity to push NC State past the Sweet 16 for the first time since Jimmy V was at the helm in 1986.