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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 | Last updated: 2:13pm

Regents approve new contracts for Miller, Rodriguez and Byrne



In one vital stroke, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller and football head coach Rich Rodriguez have received creative long-term extensions to stay at the UA.

The Arizona Board of Regents ruled Friday to approve the extensions that will keep the trio in Tucson through the 2018-19 school year.

Any queries over whether the trio (and Miller especially) will stay should be immediately put to rest once the raises and bonuses are inspected.

It’s safe to say that no other athletic department in the country has built contracts like these before.

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By File Photo and Rebecca Marie Sasnett and Tyler Baker / Arizona Summer Wildcat
Design by Rebecca Marie Sasnett/ Arizona Summer Wildcat Athletic director Greg Byrne, men's basketball head coach Sean Miller and football head coach Rich Rodriguez each had their proposed contract extensions approved by the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday. The trio are now under contract through the 2018-19 season.

Miller, who was already signed through 2017-18, adds an extra year to his current deal and will have $100,000 added on to his base $1.5 million salary in that final year.

Rodriguez, who was already signed through 2016-17, adds two years to his current deal and will see his base salary increased from $1,330,000 to $1,500,000 in 2014 with an annual increase of $100,000 each year from 2014-2019.

Byrne, who was already signed through 2017-18, adds an extra year to his current deal and will see his base salary increased from $500,000 to $625,000 in 2014 with an annual increase of $25,000 each year from 2014-2019.

While the monetary numbers are substantial, they aren’t even the most eye-popping aspect of these deals.

An unnamed UA donor has decided to employ a unique method to ensure retention of the trio. The donor will donate 500,000 units of stock to the athletic department that will in turn be divided between Byrne, Miller and Rodriguez.

—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555
Of the 500,000 units of the stock, 50,000 units are allocated for the athletic department’s use and the remaining 450,000 will be divided between the aforementioned trio.

Each unit is reportedly valued at $35.36 and the total value of the donation is $17,680,000.
If still employed at Arizona through 2022, Miller and Rodriguez will each receive 175,000 units and Byrne will receive 100,000 units.

That means staying at Arizona would give each Miller and Rodriguez nearly $6.2 million in stock and Byrne would get just over $3.5 million in stock. Each could then cash in that stock and receive that money.

Feel free to pick up your jaw from the floor anytime now. I’ll give you some time to do that.
Now that your jaw is back in place, think about how these deals could change the landscape of contract negotiations for college coaches. I have no doubts that coaches across the nation will have their agents looking for similar deals.

If I were Oregon men’s basketball coach Dana Altman, I’d be on the phone with my agent trying to get some kind of piece of Nike.

For better or for worse, this unnamed donor has changed a huge aspect of collegiate athletics.

The more local impact of the deal is that two of Arizona’s prominent athletic programs (men’s basketball and football) should see much needed stability from the head coaching positions.

It wasn’t too long ago that each program saw head coaches come and go much quicker than is comfortable. Barring unforeseen circumstances, those days should be gone for the remainder of the decade.

These deals also highlight the dedication to excellence from the athletic department and ensure Arizona athletics will be at the forefront of collegiate athletics for years to come.
If Arizona fans weren’t excited before, they should feel free to freak out now.

—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseofPayne555


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