The devil is in the details.
And for many college coaching contracts – even those in the Mountain West Conference, just out of the glare of the national spotlight – the real perks can be found in those quirky little clauses that go beyond the base salary and compensation numbers often cited at news conferences and in media reports.
Here is a look at some of the unique clauses and incentive bonuses written into the contracts of Mountain West football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball head coaching contracts:
All in the family
All of the top coaches in the league and all ADs have clauses written into their contracts allowing for family to travel free to various sporting events throughout the year.
But Utah State women’s basketball coach Jerry Finkbeiner added a twist to taking care of the family. When hired away from Oral Roberts University, Finkbeiner, whose son, Ben, is on payroll as an assistant coach for the Aggies, had written into his contract a clause stating: “If coach’s daughter, Bethany, decides to attend Utah State University, USU will pay for 50 percent of the appropriate rate… for up to two years.”
San Diego State women’s basketball coach Stacie Terry’s contract includes $12,500 for “expenses related to child care assistant traveling with team.”
Beat those rivals
Former UNM assistant coach Matt Wells, now the head football coach of the Utah State Aggies, gets $5,000 rivalry-game bonuses for beating BYU or Utah. No other coaching contract in the league offers a specific monetary bonus for beating a specific team.
Last year, the Aggies beat BYU but did not play Utah. This season, Wells and his team get two cracks at the bonus, playing at Utah on Sept. 11 and hosting BYU on Nov. 28.
Livin’ in Laradise
While there are moving expense clauses and temporary housing accommodations for many newly hired coaches around the league, only Wyoming had housing allowances written into the contracts of its top coaches and athletic director.
Living in Laramie for men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt and athletic director Tom Burman is a little more affordable thanks to their contractually obligated $36,000 annual housing allowances.
Second-year football coach Craig Bohl must have hit pay dirt with a nice move-in special near campus as his contract stipulates just $750 per month housing allowance. Women’s basketball coach Joe Legerski gets a $2,000 annual housing allowance, which increases to $2,500 over the next three seasons.
While it isn’t Laramie, there was one other significant housing clause among MWC contracts. San Diego State AD Jim Sterk had a $165,000 loan written into his contract that he must pay back over seven years for purposes of purchasing a home.
At Hawaii, a football-only member of the MWC, exposure is crucial for a program often forgotten because of geography and games played in a time zone not so friendly to mainland viewers.
As such, coach Norm Chow gets a $25,000 bonus for any home win in a nationally televised game and $40,000 for any road win on national TV.
Success is relative. While you rarely, if ever, hear fan bases thumping their chests about playing in the NIT – that other postseason basketball tournament for teams that didn’t get their tickets punched for the NCAA Tournament – many coaches still get rewarded for such an achievement.
Of the 10 MWC basketball schools that cooperated in the Journal’s public records request for coaching contracts (Air Force did not), seven have contractual bonuses for men’s and women’s coaches who lead their team into the NIT.
The three schools that do not offer any bonuses for the NIT: Colorado State, UNM and UNLV.
For Rams head coach Larry Eustachy, this fact was particularly painful to the pocketbook this past March. CSU was one of the last one or two teams left out of the NCAA Tournament, which would have been a $200,000 bonus for the third-year coach. Instead, he got nothing, and the Rams lost on their home court in the opening round of the NIT.
As for UNLV and UNM, neither received NIT invitations.
Big Dance = Big Money
While some schools reward for the NIT, others save the post-MWC Tournament incentive dollars for only the NCAA Tournament.
Just how thirsty is Sin City for not only a return to the NCAA Tournament, but for at least a little taste of success? Dave Rice’s base salary will automatically jump $50,000 for an NCAA Tournament appearance, in addition to getting $25,000 for appearing in the NCAA Tournament – and then the real payoffs kick in. For every Runnin’ Rebels win in the Big Dance, Rice pockets another $50,000, a sum that dwarfs any per-win bonus offered to his fellow coaches.
Eustachy gets that $200,000 for making the NCAA Tournament, then $100,000 bonuses starting at the Sweet 16 and beyond. He also sees his base salary automatically jump to $1.25 million for a Sweet 16, $1.5 million for an Elite Eight and $2 million for a Final Four appearance.
And don’t think that elusive Sweet 16 appearance for Lobo basketball is just a fan thing. Both UNM men’s head coach Craig Neal ($25,000) and athletic director Paul Krebs ($10,000) have the term “Sweet Sixteen” specifically written into their contracts, with lucrative bonuses should the team finally get there.
All about the tickets
Many coaches and ADs have bonuses for ticket sales, which some would argue also falls under the mandatory clauses for promoting the program.
New Nevada men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman will make 50 cents on the dollar for all ticket revenue this season over $1.2 million. The cap on that bonus is $500,000 per season.
UNM football coach Bob Davie gets $25,000 if the average paid attendance in any given year reaches 19,000 – student tickets not included. He’ll get another $25,000 if that number reaches 21,000.
Chow can earn up to $225,000 for certain season ticket benchmarks in Hawaii.
Stick around a while
Boise State and San Jose State (whose AD is a former Boise State administrator) are big on the automatic contract extension perks.
And frankly, the bar isn’t set particularly high.
Dave Wojcik, who took over the train-wreck SJSU men’s program three years ago, and Spartan women’s coach Jamie Craighead each get automatic one-year extensions just for finishing any season with a winning record.
Bronco men’s basketball coach Leon Rice and women’s coach Gordy Presnell get automatic one-year extensions for every season their teams win 18 games, while Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin adds a year for each eight-win season.
Rice also gets a one-year automatic extension should BSU join a new league, which seems to be an annual rumor.
Bohling for bucks
Bohl, like all his football coaching peers, gets bonuses for bowl games. But unlike the rest, he also gets paid if Wyoming just wins any league game. For every MWC victory, Bohl receives $20,000.
‘Consulting’ in Fresno
For various reasons, schools offer a base salary and then “other compensation” in a variety of ways to protect their interests.
At Fresno State, that other compensation comes in the form of hiring football and men’s basketball head coaches as “consultants,” with separate contracts for those duties. The contracts stipulate the “consulting” entails such duties as media obligations and program promotion.
Football coach Tim DeRuyter has a base salary of $258,168 and then receives $1.2 million in consulting fees paid to “DeRuyter Inc., a Nevada Corporation.” For men’s basketball coach Rodney Terry, his base salary is also $258,168, but he gets another $91,848 for consulting fees.