When Bronco Mendenhall was introduced as Virginia's head coach, the attorneys on staff here at Streaking the Lawn reacted pretty much in unison: "SWEET! Now let's FOIA the contract."
Because Mendenhall is a public employee, his contract is subject to Virginia's Freedom of Information Act. We had requested coach's contracts from the old staff earlier in the season, and are able to compare numbers side-by-side.
We already knew the topline numbers: five years at $3.25 million. The breakdown below, compared to Mike London's contract, shows just how serious the Athletic Department is about giving Mendenhall the tools he needs to build a winning program.
The biggest dollar difference looks to be the assistant coaches' salary pool. London's contract provided for assistants' salaries of up to $2,150,000 with a 5% step increase each year. That put the salary pool at roughly $2.6 million for the 2015 season. Mendenhall starts with a salary pool of $3 million, and also gets the 5% step increases.
The buyout provisions pretty much track the salary differences: London had a $2 million buyout, Mendenhall has a $3 million buyout that decreases by $600,000 each year after Year Three.
Where things really get interesting is the bonuses. London had a $750,000 longevity bonus that kicked in on January 15, 2015 (the end of Year Three under the contract); Mendenhall does not have a longevity bonus. Both contracts provided for a $50,000 bonus for an ACC Championship Game appearance, but only Mendenhall's provides for $50,000 extra for winning the ACC Championship Game. Each provides for a $75,000 bonus for bowl game appearances.
The new postseason structure affects the contracts as well. London would have received $150,000 for a BCS bowl game appearance, and $300,000 for an appearance in the BCS national championship game. Mendenhall is in line for a $500,000 bonus for a College Football Playoff appearance, and $1 million for a CFP championship. The rankings-based bonuses, however, remain the same: $75,000 for 16-20; $100,000 for 11-15; $125,000 for 6-10; and $150,000 for 1-5.
Mendenhall also has higher bonuses for coach of the year awards. For an AFCA regional coach of the year, Mendenhall will receive $75,000 where London would have received $15,000. For an ACC coach of the year, $50,000 for Mendenhall but $25,000 for London. National coach of the year nets Mendenhall $100,000, while it would have gotten London only $25,000.
There are two bonus provisions in Mendenhall's contract that weren't in London's. Mendenhall gets a $20,000 bonus for each sold out home game. The other unique bonuses are tied to team GPA. Mendenhall gets $50,000 for a team GPA over 3.0, with bonuses decreasing by $10,000 per step for ranges down to 2.8.
Mendenhall said in his press conference at BYU that money wasn't what drew him to UVa. He then said in his introductory press conference at JPJ that facilities were going to be one of his priorities. Those statements, taken together with the contract details above, show that Mendenhall has a clear vision for what the Virginia football program needs to improve: great assistant coaches, first-class facilities, selling out Scott Stadium week after week, and achieving in the classroom.