New Mexico State will still get its money.
And the move isn’t costing the University of New Mexico anything.
But, after an addendum signed Monday to the employment contract of Lobos men’s basketball coach Paul Weir, the former Aggies coach is no longer on the hook directly for paying his old employer the majority of an agreed-upon $450,000 buyout for breaking his contract there to come to UNM in April 2017.
Instead, UNM has taken out of Weir’s original contract a retention bonus clause that would have paid him a $50,000 bonus on March 30 of each contract year for five seasons and a $100,000 bonus if he’s still employed at the end of the sixth, and final, year of the contract in 2023, for a total of $350,000.
By UNM sending the money rather than paying Weir and him doing it, he avoids having to count that money as taxable income.
Weir declined comment to the Journal on Saturday.
“We are appreciative to coach Weir for his leadership and commitment to the University,” UNM President Garnett Stokes told the Journal in an email. “The request is reasonable, and we are willing to accommodate it as it does not materially affect our contractual agreement with him.”
Added first-year UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez, “Coach Weir has demonstrated a long-term vision for Lobo men’s basketball over the next several years, and I am happy to agree to this change. He would still pay any outstanding balance for that year directly to NMSU and be accountable for any associated costs.”
Should Weir leave UNM before the end of his contract, he will still be responsible for the money owed NMSU, as he is for any additional money owed after the retention bonus money is transferred by UNM.
The new addendum states: “Coach Weir agrees that, in the event that Coach Weir leaves his employment with the University (by his own accord or that of the university) prior to March 31, 2023, this benefit will cease simultaneously with the date of termination; the University will make no further payments to NMSU; and Coach Weir will be solely responsible for any remaining financial or other obligations to NMSU.”
Weir and NMSU last month avoided arbitration and agreed he would owe NMSU $450,000 (plus $25,000 in interest payments that would start to accumulate in 2022). The payment schedule on the signed agreement between Weir and the university is for seven years and requires payment each May 1, with the first payment due this past week of $75,000.
Between the $50,000 and retaining a portion of the $38,730 in annual leave payWeir was still owed by NMSU after he left a year ago, the first payment was scheduled to be satisfied this week.
Universities almost always help pay the buyout penalties of hired coaches leaving another university. But that wasn’t the case for the contract between Weir and UNM.
Former UNM athletic director Paul Krebs was emphatic at Weir’s introductory press conference in April 2017 that the university would not pay any portion of Weir’s buyout with NMSU. At that press conference, Weir said attorneys were looking into how much he owed. NMSU felt it was $500,000,Weir’s camp thought it was $375,000 and the two settled at $450,000 before interest. The point of contention was whether an extra year, and thus an extra $125,000 in buyout owed, had been added to Weir’s contract when the Aggies won the 2017 Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
It was clear from the start that NMSU and Chancellor Garrey Carruthers weren’t in the mood to give their former coach a friendly discount when he left for the instate rival.
According to emails obtained by the Journal, after that April 2017 press conference, NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia immediately updated Carruthers on what was said at the press conference, noting “I think the contract is pretty clear in this,” referencing what NMSU should get.
Carruthers responded, in part, with “I am in the mood to litigate if necessary.”
According to the payment schedule between Weir and NMSU, he owes NMSU $65,000 on May 1, 2019 and will be responsible for the remaining balance of $15,000 himself after UNM’s transfer of $50,000. That is also the case for any other year in which he is scheduled to pay more than $50,000, other than 2023 in which UNM would have owed Weir $100,000 in retention bonuses and will pay that sum to NMSU. At that point, Weir would have about $75,000 remaining owed to NMSU that he, for now and as for the current contract, would be responsible for himself.