The Citadel football coach Kevin Higgins has signed a five-year contract extension that will keep him at the military school through the 2013 season.

The extension was in the works and signed before new Citadel athletic director Larry Leckonby reported for duty this week, but he's happy to have the fourth-year coach locked up for the near term.

"Absolutely," Leckonby said Friday after The Citadel announced the extension.

"It's great for The Citadel football program and great for the school."

Higgins has an overall record of 16-17 in three seasons at The Citadel, but last year led the Bulldogs to a 7-4 overall mark and a 4-3 record in the Southern Conference.

That marked The Citadel's first winning season since the SoCon championship season of 1992, and its first back-to-back winning records in the SoCon since 1990-92.

"I've known Kevin for a long time, going back to his career at Lehigh," said Leckonby, who was hired last month to replace former AD Les Robinson. "And I'm very familiar with what his team has accomplished here in three short years.

"As the new athletic director coming in, I'm very happy Kevin agreed to commit to The Citadel program for the next five years, and I'm looking forward to spending those five years working with him."

Higgins was on vacation Friday, but in a statement called the extension "an honor."

"I am fortunate to be part of an institution that has a strong commitment to excellence," Higgins said. "The support of the football program has continues to receive from Lt. Gen. (John) Rosa and the Bulldog alumni has given us the opportunity carry out our vision for success.

"We are building a winning tradition at The Citadel."

Leckonby said he was not prepared to discuss details of the extension, including salary and buyout terms. Higgins has been earning a base salary of $135,858.

--Leckonby's contract with The Citadel still is being negotiated, a school spokesman said this week. Leckonby will earn $160,000 per year in salary, the spokesman said. Robinson's salary was $138,159, according to state records.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at jhartsell@postandcourier.com