HOUSTON — Whenever and however this Final Four fairy tale ends for FAU, there’s one guarantee: Dusty May won’t be leaving the show when the season ends.

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 from the beginning was doing the best job for our team,” May told CBS Sports. “I was doing my job and I never intended to leave.”

May is 46 years old and is finishing his fifth season with the Owls. He was contacted by several search firms on behalf of many power conference schools in February and March, gauging his interest in openings or job opportunities soon to be available across the country. He went from interviewing all of them.

“The most attractive thing about FAU is that it’s ours,” May said. “We’ve built our identity, we’ve built an amazing team culture and those are the most important things to me… We spent five years developing real, genuine relationships and it’s hard to reset and do those things again. I have a lot of loyalty to our players who have given everything, sacrificed… That’s what makes this group so successful, that we all give and nobody is thinking of taking all the time.”

The deal, which is expected to be worth more than $1 million annually, will be a significant 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 upping the conferences, too: It will leave C-USA for the American Athletic Conference later this year.

“We couldn’t be more grateful and excited to have Coach May lead this program going forward,” FAU athletic director Brian White told CBS Sports. “The way he leads this program is incredible from a win-loss perspective, but just as important is the culture he builds, the student-athlete experience he contributes to, the people he brings to FAU. We are so proud of our men’s basketball program and we are very excited about the opportunity for Dusty to lead it into the future.”

The salary bracket for FAU assistants will also increase significantly, White told CBS Sports.

May’s talks with White and others at the university have been positive about assurances on facility upgrades and an increase in NIL for FAU players. May also noted that, organically, this FAU team has earned it all on its own in every way, which is why the 9th-seeded Owls are here in Houston and will play No. 5-seeded San Diego State. , on Saturday night for a spot in the national championship game.

“Our players are becoming more and more productive in the NIL space,” May said. “Our guys have done it the way NIL is supposed to be. They went out there and promoted themselves, and they made a little bit of money off of it. There’s never been a point where they’ve been told ‘Well, you I will give this amount of money to stay here.'”

Extensive overhauls will take place this offseason and in subsequent years at FAU’s basketball arena, athletic offices and multi-sport facilities, White said. Earlier this season, the men’s basketball program received a $7.5 million donation that has yet to be used. That money will allow for more improvements and upgrades to the old Owls facility. In all, approximately $11 million has been raised for basketball programs in the past two seasons at FAU, and more than $15 million is available to spend in the months and years ahead.

“We have new locker rooms and a new video card and upgrades,” White said. “With the facility, we started from scratch. The previous gains were significant, but I think this new gift of $7.5 million will go a long way. We’re going to make the arena the best it can be.”

White and May agreed weeks ago to suspend all contract negotiations while FAU moved toward the NCAA Tournament, but no one could have imagined that this storyline would play out in such dramatic fashion as May has the Owls two wins away from possibly the most unlikely national championship. in basketball history.

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