Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage took notice of what men's basketball coach Tony Bennett and his staff accomplished last season, and rewarded them with some pretty nice raises - but they don't come without a catch.
STL obtained on Tuesday the contracts of Bennett, associate head coach Ron Sanchez, and assistant coaches Jason Williford and Brad Soderberg. The latter is a new addition to the staff after the departure of Ritchie McKay for Liberty University.
Bennett earned a modest raise from $1.924 million to $2.1 million. That comes from his $400,000 base salary and his $1.7 million in supplemental compensation for things such as getting equipment contracts, making media appearances, and attending speaking engagements. His base salary and supplemental compensation increase five percent every year over the life of the contract, which expires in 2021.
As far as his buyout is concerned, it increased to $3 million if he resigns before March 15, 2018. It drops to $1 million a year later, and decreases by $250,000 each year after that until 2021. He would owe UVa that money within 60 days of his resignation.
He also has a number of bonuses outlined in his contract:
- ACC tournament champions: $100,000
- NCAA tournament berth: $50,000
- Sweet 16 appearance: $100,000
- Elite Eight: $250,000
- Final Four: $250,000
- National championship: $400,000
In addition to those listed, he has incentives for finishing high in a poll ($25,000 in the top 20, $50,000 in the top 15, and $75,000 in the top 10) and for being named ACC Coach of the Year ($50,000) or National Coach of the Year ($100,000). It may be important to point out that the NCAA tournament-related bonuses are cumulative - in other words, winning the NCAA Championship would entitle him to $650,000 on top of the $400,000 for winning the season's final game.
There is also language in his contract containing provisions for extension of the deal:
In addition, the term of this Agreement shall be automatically extended by one (1) additional year on May 1, 2016, May 1, 2017, and May 1, 2018. At any time during this agreement, the [Athletic Director] and the Coach may meet and discuss extension of this agreement on mutually acceptable terms.
As far as Sanchez's contract is concerned, his base salary remains at $225,000 but his supplemental compensation is now at $45,000. His non-cumulative NCAA tournament bonuses are set at $18,750 for a tournament berth, $28,125 for a Sweet 16 appearance, $37,500 if they go to the Final Four, and $56,250 if they win the national championship.
Williford also has the same base salary of $225,000, but now with $25,000 in supplemental compensation, and his NCAA tournament bonuses are the same as Sanchez's. Soderberg is paid $250,000 a year (no supplemental compensation) with NCAA tournament bonuses of $20,833, $31,249, $41,666, and $62,500.
The pay raises for Sanchez and Williford reflect what most view as jobs well done this past season by both assistant coaches. Both assistant coaches had receive $60,000 raises just last year in base salaries, without any supplemental income.
Bennett had also just received pay raise last year, from $1.7 million to $1.924 million under a seven-year contract. The new contract's $3 million exit fee for Bennett is also a steep increase from the previous exit fee, which was just $1.4 million should Bennett resign or otherwise terminate his contract. The previous $1.4 million fee decreased by $200,000 for each year completed.
As Virginia fans, does this give you some comfort that Bennett will stick around and continue building a dynasty in Charlottesville? Or are you jaded (realistic?) such that you'd believe any school looking to recruit Bennett away from Virginia would simply pay this exit fee on his behalf?