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Bill Carmody will return to Northwestern

Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody gives instructions against Stony Brook during first half an NCAA college basketball game EvanstIll. Friday

Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody gives instructions against the Stony Brook during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill. Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. Northwestern defeated Stony Brook 63-58. (AP Photo/David Banks)

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Updated: April 24, 2012 8:12AM

After what seemed like months of waiting but amounted to only a few days, Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips announced Thursday that men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody will return next season.

“There’s been a lot of talk and speculation, and I know that’s the way the world works,” Phillips said. “Half the population will be upset with my decision, and half will like it.”

Phillips normally evaluates coaches a few weeks after their seasons. But he accelerated the process because of the media firestorm surrounding Carmody’s future after the Wildcats lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament and failed to receive an NCAA tournament bid.

“I don’t live in a sheltered world, and I know what [the media were] saying, and I had to address that,” Phillips said. “This is the first media alert and conference call we’ve had for an end-of-the-year coach evaluation. The program is going to be better. Bill has assured me of that.”

Carmody and Phillips said last season that Carmody signed a two-year contract extension. But Carmody said Thursday that he actually has more than one year left on his contract but wouldn’t say how many.

Phillips said the team flew back to Evanston early Saturday morning from Seattle, where the Wildcats lost 76-55 to Washington in a second-round NIT game Friday.

The two had an initial conversation Saturday. Then Phillips spent some time talking to the players Saturday and Sunday before they left for spring break, which is normally part of Phillips’ postseason evaluations.

Phillips and Carmody spent nearly all day Monday discussing every aspect of the program. On Tuesday, Phillips spoke with Carmody’s staff. Carmody said he knew from the beginning of the evaluation that he would return.

“No one has been more disappointed [in how the season ended] than our players, our staff and me,” Carmody said. “Every year we go through this evaluation. We moved it ahead this year because of the way this thing has blown up, this issue. We had conversations the whole week, and during those conversations, [his return] became clear.

“I didn’t have time to respond to a lot of these things and the inaccuracies in the paper. One person writes something, and it’s hard to refute some of those things.”

Carmody also thinks associate head coach Tavaras Hardy will return next season despite rumors that Hardy is being considered for the Southern Illinois coaching job.

This season’s NIT bid was the fourth consecutive postseason appearance for NU, a school record. It came a year after the Wildcats made their deepest postseason run in school history, losing in the NIT quarterfinals at Washington State and missing out on a trip to the semis at Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats were hampered by injuries for most of the season. Heralded freshman guard Tre Demps required shoulder surgery in the preseason, Alex Marcotullio had a toe injury and missed half the season and JerShon Cobb sat out 12 games with hip, back and leg injuries.

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