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Mark Coyle's Minnesota Contract Details Released

We break down the key portions of the new Minnesota AD's contract.

As you all know by now, Mark Coyle is officially the athletics director at the University of Minnesota. It's a move that has excited many, including yours truly. Coyle looks like he'll be an excellent choice to lead the Gophers and he had an impressive opening press conference.

Right before the press conference began, details of Coyle's contract with the U started to break. Minnesota will pay Coyle $850,000 a year for five years. This is a significant increase over what Norwood Teague made (more than double Teague's base salary) and it represents a significant investment in athletics by President Kaler and the Board of Regents.

Since that time, the Star Tribune has published a full copy of the contract online for anyone to review. We wanted to go beyond the "top line" yearly base salary and highlight multiple details from within the contract. NOTE: I am not a lawyer, so if I make any IANAL type mistakes please correct me in the comments.

Term of Employment


Mark Coyle becomes the official athletics director at Minnesota starting on June 1st. You can be sure that he'll be involved in the department and meeting with coaches and donors to reacquaint himself with the programs and politics before that date. But based on the contract language 6/1/16 appears to be his first official day on the job.

Base Salary


As already noted, Coyle will make $850,000 a year in base salary. However, that's not the only compensation he will receive or be eligible for.

Incentive Payments


It appears as though Coyle will be eligible for up to $150,000 a year in additional incentive payments. How those incentives will be structured appears is TBD for now, but he will earn a $1 million in total compensation each year he meets all of the future incentive goals.

Other Benefits

In addition to the base salary and potential incentive goal payments, Coyle will receive $100,000 year in retirement payments. He also has access to some traditional non-monetary perks including a car and season tickets.


You'd also have to assume he will have regular invites to the President's Suite at TCF Bank Stadium for himself and his family.

Buyouts: Syracuse and Minnesota


Both Doogie and Joe C. have confirmed that Minnesota will pay Syracuse a $500,000 buyout on behalf of Mark Coyle.

MN buyout

Based on the above section of the contract, it looks like the buyout cost for Coyle should he leave Minnesota is $850,000 times the number of years remaining on his contract. In other words, if he left Minnesota after a year like he did Syracuse, he (or his next employer) would owe Minnesota $3.4 million. That would drop to $2.55 million after year two, $1.7 million after year three, and $850,000 after year four. The U can terminate his contract with cause for all the standard reasons.


UPDATE, 11am on 5/12: Thanks to Goldy Gopher JD for pointing out a section I missed. The U and Coyle have a 3 month negotiation window right at the start of the 5th year. If they can't agree on renewal terms during that window the buyout goes away. As a result, the $850,000 buyout after year 4 essentially exists for three months before it goes away or is replaced by a new buyout number as part of a new contract. The details are in Section 4.1:



All in all it's a fair and competitive deal that makes Mark Coyle the 5th highest paid AD in the Big Ten:

Time will tell if Minnesota receives results that match the investment, but I for one am pleased that President Kaler and the BOR stepped up and hired the best available candidate rather than getting caught up in penny pinching.