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Sumlin contract: $14.5 million over five years

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Kevin Sumlin was introduced Tuesday, Jan. 16 as the UA's next head football coach. Sumlin, who was let go by Texas A&M in December, poses with past UA football players

During a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 16, new University of Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin was introduced to cheers and renewed hopes of a Rose Bowl appearance at the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. Sumlin, 53, will be UA’s first African-American head football coach.

He will also be the highest paid employee on campus, agreeing to a $14.5 million contract over five years, pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents according to a UA press release. He will make $2 million during his first two years, and $3.5 million for the next three seasons. 

There are built in incentives as well, like finishing at the top of the Pac-12 conference and being invited to a certain tier of bowl game. 

          RELATED: Kevin Sumlin named head coach of Arizona football, says program "will win championships"

Sumlin made a base salary of $5 million at Texas A&M last year, before being fired in December 2017. According to Sumlin’s contract with Texas A&M, he is also due a $10.4 million buyout, regardless of his being hired at another university. 

Sumlin’s contract puts him in similar company with Arizona State University’s head coach Herm Edwards: both are newly hired African-American men, each helming their respective football programs. 

Edwards will receive a base salary of $2 million this year, according to the Arizona Republic. He also has an annual salary increase of $250,000 in his contract.

Former coach Rich Rodriguez earned $2,475,000 in the last year of his contract before being fired without cause on January 2.

Rodriguez’s contract, which was renegotiated and renewed in 2014, was notable for being negotiated and approved by then-Athletic Director Greg Byrne and the Arizona Board of Regents without including a mitigation clause.

Per the terms of Rodriguez’s contract, he is due a $6.28 million payout within 30 days of termination. Unlike Rodriguez’s contract, Sumlin’s includes a mitigation requirement in the case the UA or Sumlin terminate the contract without cause.

Athletic Director Dave Heeke confirmed the inclusion of the mitigation clause will be standard practice in contract negotiations going forward. 

“I think that’s important,” Heeke said. “I think that’s a fair way, when you get to those points, and we hope we don’t get to those points, that there’s some kind of mitigation.”

The language of Rodriguez’s contract is laid out so that “the parties have bargained for this liquidated damages provision giving consideration to the fact that this is a contract for personal services.” 

Arizona Board of Regents Chairman Bill Ridenour said no tuition dollars or public funds will be used for the payout. Instead, the money will come from the self-sustaining athletics department as well as, “private donations from private donors who support the decision,” Ridenour said.


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