Kentucky’s football coach got much more than a simple, two-year extension on his contract, he also got a lot of extras.
According to Mark Stoops’ new deal released by the school on Wednesday, the Cats’ coach will receive an automatic “extension opportunity” of one year each time the team wins at least seven games in a season.
That is beyond the 2022 date set forth in the terms of the new contract. If Stoops wins 10 or more games in a season, his contract automatically gives him an additional two years.
And for each automatic extension year, the total guaranteed compensation will increase by $250,000 from the year before it.
It was an extension well earned, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a release.
“The last four years have been a grind for Mark and his staff, but he has never wavered in his commitment to building Kentucky football into a consistent winner,” Barnhart said of the deal, which was signed March 16 and made public Wednesday. “While the work isn’t close to finished, we believe Mark is the coach to take us there.”
Stoops just finished his fourth season as the Cats’ head coach in December, which ended in a trip to the TaxSlayer Bowl, UK’s first since 2010.
The Cats tied for second place in the SEC East, its best finish since 1992 when the league split into two divisions.
Stoops’ total guaranteed compensation in 2022 is $4.75 million per his new contract. With incentives, it could rise to $7 million. It’s a huge increase from when he was hired in December 2012, and had a guaranteed salary of $1.33 million with a maximum of $2.38 million. In 2017, Stoops is guaranteed $3.5 million.
According to the USA Today coaches’ salary database, only Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh make more than $6 million in total compensation. For comparison’s sake, Stoops’ older brother Bob Stoops’ total pay according to his deal is $5.6 million at Oklahoma.
Similar to his old contract, Mark Stoops will continue to receive $250,000 for each victory beginning with the seventh win of each season and $50,000 per semester in which the team’s grade-point average is 2.75 or higher.
There also are new safeguards in place for Stoops and the university should he be terminated without cause or leave for a different job.
Stoops’ new contract has a $1 million buyout clause that runs through 2021. There was no buyout clause in his previous deal. Should UK decide to fire the head coach, it will pay him 75 percent of the remaining compensation owed to him through the contract.
Other incentives include a $50,000 bonus for an Academic Progress Rating of .975 or better. His current contract pays him $50,000 for an APR of .950.
▪ If the football team participates in the SEC championship game, Stoops will get $100,000 and an additional $100,000 if UK wins the title. In the current agreement, Stoops would have received $200,000 for any SEC championship game appearance, regardless of outcome.
▪ There are bonuses for participation in the College Football Playoff, including playing in any of the New Year’s Six bowl games (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta or Peach). He will receive $200,000 as a new incentive bump.
If UK were to participate in the national title game, Stoops would get $400,000 compared to the $200,000 in his previous contract. If UK wins a national championship., it goes to $500,000.
▪ Other new incentive payments will be triggered based on bowl game participation. Stoops will now receive $50,000 if the team wins six games and participates in a non-SEC affiliated bowl game.
Stoops will now receive $100,000 if the football team wins six games and participates in an SEC-affiliated bowl game. Per the amendment, Stoops will no longer receive $125,000 if UK participates in a bowl game that provides more than $2 million in receipts.
New deals for several Kentucky assistant football coaches have been made public in recent weeks and several others are expected to come out soon.