Portland State gives coach Barnum 5-year contract

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(STATS) - Bruce Barnum no longer carries an "interim" tag, and his new five-year contract shows that Portland State certainly likes what it's seen on the field this season.

The school finally announced that it had resolved its coaching situation Wednesday, locking up Barnum after he had been appointed interim coach following the dismissal of Nigel Burton in November.

Portland State's players gave the move a resounding seal of approval, leaping to their feet, cheering and chanting "Barny-Ball! Barny-Ball!" - the team's slogan for its style of play and a take-off on Barnum's name - when told of the signing after practice by director of athletics Mark Rountree.

"It is my privilege to announce that Portland State has signed Bruce Barnum to a multiyear contract," Rountree said. "Coach Barnum has proven he can lead our team to compete at the highest levels, and is committed to developing student-athletes to be successful for the rest of their lives.

"The search committee recognized his strong commitment to integrity and the holistic success of students, which is why he was the unanimous choice for the job. Bruce exemplifies Portland State's identity of being fearless and determined, and I know he will have a huge impact on our campus and our community."

The athletics department met with several candidates for the job, including Barnum, but the Vikings' rise this season likely made it tough to consider anyone else. Portland State's 4-1 start includes two wins over FBS opponents, and the most recent - Saturday's 66-7 rout at North Texas that is the largest victory ever for an FCS team over an FBS school - appeared to seal the deal.

"Coach Barnum has made a huge difference in our athletics program in a very short time. His commitment to our student-athletes and Portland State is outstanding and we look forward to continued success," school president Wim Wiewel said.

This is the first head coaching job for Barnum, 51, who had been working on a one-year contract. "Barnyball," which the coach describes as "blue collar, tough, fundamental football,'' has the team off to its best start since 2000.

"Nothing will bother us, or affect us. Got a little pep in our step now, that we know we are together for a while, a long while," Barnum said while addressing his team after the announcement.

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