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Kentucky rewards softball coach Lawson with new contract, raise

UK head coach Rachel Lawson chats with her hitters during a pitching change against Mississippi St. at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, May 8, 2016.
UK head coach Rachel Lawson chats with her hitters during a pitching change against Mississippi St. at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, May 8, 2016.

A month after leading the University of Kentucky softball team to its eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and being named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, Rachel Lawson was rewarded with a new five-year contract.

UK this week released details of the new pact, which was signed June 30.

Under the new contract, Lawson receives a raise averaging $84,500 per year. The contract also offers incentive bonuses for winning SEC regular-season and tournament championships, advancing to NCAA Tournament regionals, super regionals and the College World Series, and for achieving team academic goals.

Lawson’s salary will escalate $10,000 each year of the contract, starting at $210,000 per year in 2016-17 and ending at $250,000 per year in 2020-21, with a total value of $1,150,000.

In May, Lawson completed her ninth season at Kentucky, going 46-14 and reaching the NCAA Tournament regional finals. Lawson went 3-25 in her first season at Kentucky in 2008 and has finished .500 over better in every year since. The Wildcats finished 50-19 and made the school’s first-ever College World Series appearance in 2014.

Lawson’s first contract paid her $86,000 per year. Her next contract delivered a raise to $145,500.

“She’s got a real inner drive that makes her unique,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart told the Herald-Leader’s John Clay in May. “She loves the university. She’s a great ambassador for us. And oh, by the way, she’s a really good softball coach.”

More UK contracts

UK also posted contracts signed recently by head coaches in several other sports.

Men’s soccer coach Johan Cedergen signed a contract that will take him through the next five seasons. Rifle coach Harry Mullins received a four-year deal. Gymnastics coach Tim Garrison and women’s tennis coach Carlos Drada inked three-year contracts. UK also agreed to contracts with several assistant coaches.

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