MADISON, Wis. — Despite leading Wisconsin within a game of the Frozen Four, Badgers coach Jeff Sauer did not have his contract extended by the school’s athletic board on Friday.
It’s the second time in three years Sauer’s contract has not been extended. The 30-year collegiate coach still has three years remaining on his contract, but extensions are generally given at the close of the season.
“It’s basically a signal that not everything is where we would like it to be,” Wisconsin athletics director Pat Richter told Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal.
Sauer’s Badgers defeated Providence in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but lost to Michigan State in the quarterfinal round. The season was largely a disappointment for the Badgers, the 1999-2000 WCHA regular-season champions who were expected to compete for the title again.
Instead, they finished fifth in the WCHA, and lost the Final Five play-in game to Colorado College. They ended the season with an overall record of 22-15-4.
Sauer admitted he has talked with Richter, a former member of the NCAA Ice Hockey Committee, about retirement, but said he wants to work through the end of his contract.
“From my point of view, I have a contract until 2004, and that’s fine,” Sauer told the State Journal.
Sauer’s contract was also not extended after the Badgers went 15-19-4 in 1998-99.