Rutgers women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer will be paid the same base salary as football coach Greg Schiano under a seven-year contract extension announced yesterday.

Stringer will get $450,000 in base pay and could earn up to $500,000 in additional compensation under terms of the agreement, Rutgers said. Schiano signed an extension in February with $450,000 in base pay but a total compensation package worth about $1.5 million per year.

Stringer, 59, had one year remaining on her contract and said negotiations on a new one began about a year ago. The new agreement will make her one of the five highest-paid women's college basketball coaches.

"I think without question that my athletic director and my president felt I was clearly one of the top five, six, seven coaches in the country," Stringer said. "When it is all said and done, it is based on the success I had before, but more importantly, what I was able to do when I came here, and where we were and where we have been on a consistent basis."

Stringer made $605,800 this season, including $212,400 in base pay and bonuses of $115,400. In contrast, Rutgers men's basketball coach Fred Hill signed a contract a year ago that pays him about $500,000 in base pay and other considerations.

"There is no question this contract is well-deserved and reflects the success of the program and its status among the nation's elite," athletic director Robert Mulcahy III said.

Stringer is 257-125 in 12 seasons at Rutgers. She took an already successful program under previous coach Theresa Grentz in 1995 and elevated it to the next level, leading the Scarlet Knights to the program's only NCAA Final Four appearances, in 2000 and last season, when they lost to Tennessee, 59-46, in the title game.

In 2006-07, Rutgers finished 27-9 and won the school's first Big East Conference tournament championship.

Stringer has an overall record of 777-260, and ranks third in career wins among Division I women's college basketball coaches.

The team became the center of a controversy after the championship game when nationally syndicated radio host Don Imus referred to the players as "nappy-headed ho's." Imus was fired for his comments, but Stringer and the team met with him and accepted his apology.