Minnesota Football: Coach Kill Rewarded With Raise And One Year Contract Extension

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

An 8-5 season (including the first 4 game B1G winning streak since 1973) nets Jerry Kill nearly 1 million more per year.

Well, the U sure isn't screwing around. This is big sign that President Kahler and Athletic Director Norwood Teague think Jerry Kill is the guy for Minnesota:

"Coach Kill is proving his model works here at the University of Minnesota," said Teague. "It is right to support him as he builds a program that will make the state of Minnesota proud."

"Jerry Kill is the right coach for the University of Minnesota," said University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. He has clearly moved our program forward and I am pleased we have come to this agreement to secure his long-term leadership of Gopher football."

The Deal

Let's get right to the details. Per Joe C at the STrib, here is what the deal looks like:

- Coach Kill's contract is extended by 1 season, through 2018

- His salary is increased from $1.2 million per year to an average of $2.3 million per season over the life of the deal. How does that look exactly?

Kill’s contract will pay him $2.1 million this season — a 75 percent raise from the 2013 campaign — and his salary will increase by $100,000 each year through the 2018 season.

OK, so that all looks pretty good. It bumps Coach Kill up to 8th in the B1G next year. If you're like me, you next two questions are "what about assistant coaching salaries?" and "what does the buyout look like?

For the assistants, let me turn back to the words of Joe C:

Kill has often touted the importance of taking care of his assistants, several of whom have been with him for more than a decade.

Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys and the other assistant coaches received raises last year. Kill’s new contract has language that guarantees the team’s assistant coaches’ salary pool will rank in the top six of the Big Ten.

Bolding is mine. That's a pretty big commitment to assistant coaching salaries. Based on the USA Today figures released last fall (which are out of date already but are the best source of assistant coaching salary data available), that means the Gophers are committing to spend at least $2.4 million a season on assistants (they currently spent $2.15 a season). In the short term, that isn't a ton of money more per season. But the fact that the U has committed to a specific place in the B1G heirarchy instead of a specific amount means that this figure could rise significantly over the length of the contract. Perhaps even more than the salary increase for Coach Kill, this decision is sign of the investment the U is making in Coach Kill and the faith they have in him and his system.

I suspect many of you are now worried about whether the U has tied themselves into a deal that they cannot escape easily. That they've gone all in on Coach Kill and left themselves no outs if he doesn't succeed here at Minnesota. And here is where the deal should surprise and please fans.

The contract stipulates that Kill still would be paid $600,000 per season over the remaining the life of his contract if he is fired without cause.

Likewise, if he leaves to become a head coach in the NFL or at another Division I school, he would owe the university $600,000 per season over the life of the deal.

This is not a Glen Mason type of contract. The U will not be on the hook for $2.1 or $2.3 million a year for the remainder of the deal. Even if Kill were fired today, the U would only owe Coach Kill $3 million. I say this as though it's a small amount, but it's less than a third of what the buyout would be if it were structured like the previous contracts we've grown to know and loathe.

My Thoughts

I like the deal. Kill is not the worst coach in the B1G and he deserved to be paid better. The only concern that I or anyone else should ever have when you make a statement like that is whether the U would be able to structure the deal in a way that would allow them to cut ties if Coach Kill didn't succeed here. And on that front Norwood Teague came through big time. But it's not all on Teague. Kill had to agree to a deal that delivered a much lower buyout than I would have expected. And while I don't have all the numbers I need to say this with certainty, I'd have to guess that a buyout that is less than a third of the total contract amount is not the norm. To me, this speaks highly of Coach Kill. As always, he will ultimately be judged by the product he puts on the field and his W/L record. That said, I'm glad yet again that he is the coach at Minnesota. I also like that the U has come through for the assistant coaching salary pool, something that is clearly important to Coach Kill and that will be very important if Kill is ever forced to replace a member of his coaching team.

As I said, I think this is a good deal that continues to prove the U's newfound willingness to invest in athletics while also being a smart deal that gives the AD flexibility to make moves in the future.

UPDATE 2/24 1:20 PM

KSTP got a copy of the contract and shared some more details. The most interesting to me were:

The balance of the salary beyond the base salary is $900,000 per year in supplemental compensation and $600,000 in supplemental retirement funding, which increases $100,000 each year.

So that's how they got the buyout number where it was. The base salary is 600K and they structured the rest of the compensation in the form of supplemental (think payment for coaches shows, camps, fundraising, apparel contracts, etc) and retirement. Not a huge deal (the buyout number and topline are all most folks need), but I personally find it interesting how the deal is structured. So the extra money each year is for retirement. Smart. Let's hope Kill doesn't need it for a while.

Among the additional incentives included in the deal:

  • $150,000 for winning the National Championship
  • $150,000 for being invited to the National Championship
  • $50,000 for winning 5 Big Ten games, with an additional $25,000 per each additional win
  • Bonuses ranging from $30,000 to $75,000 pegged to the team's Academic Progress Rate, graduation rate and Grade Point Average.
  • $50,000 if home game attendance hits 47,000 ($75,000 at 49,000 attendance)

The attendance one is of course avg season attendance. Other incentive payments not mentioned (lord knows why they only focused on the 2 most difficult to get bonuses):

- College FB playoff game or Rose Bowl? $125,000

- Winning B1G Title? $125,000

- Win or share B1G West Division title? $100,000

- Named National COY by organization from agreed upon list? $100,000

- B1G Coach of the Year according to Coaches or Media polls? $50,000

- Any bowl game besides Title Game, playoff game, or Rose Bowl? $50,000

- Bowl game win against ACC, SEC, Big 12, or Pac-12 team? $50,000

- APR greater than 960? $75,000

- APR greater than 950? $50,000

- APR greater than 940? $30,000

- Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 80% or greater? $75,000

- GSR of 70% to 79.99%? $50,000

The contract also includes some other perks, both personal and recruiting related:

The new contract also offers: use of two personal cars (up from one); an increase to 60 hours of non-commercial airplane leasing for recruiting or other university business; a suite at TCF Bank Stadium for home games and 20 tickets to any Gophers bowl game; travel considerations for Kill's family to away games and for families of assistant coaches to one away game per season.

Bolding is mine. MOAR PRIVATE JET TIME. Always a positive. Of note, the private jet is only used when the destination is more than 200 miles from the Cities.

If you'd like to read the contract yourself, it is available here.

Those are my #TAKES. Share what you think in the comments and poll!

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