By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer
New University of Cincinnati football coach Mark Dantonio will make a minimum of $515,000 during his first season as a head coach and could realistically make as much as $604,583 with incentives that appear within reach based on the program's recent history.
Dantonio's contract, a five-year deal that runs through the 2008 season, was made available by UC following an Enquirer request.
Hired last December to replace Rick Minter, who was fired after 10 seasons at UC, Dantonio spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State.
His contract calls for a base salary of $175,000, plus $130,000 for TV-radio obligations, $60,000 for public relations and alumni relations, and a $90,000 signing bonus that must be repaid to the university if Dantonio is not the head football coach at UC for the first game of the 2004 season on Sept. 4 at Ohio State.
UC president Nancy Zimpher, also in her first year at the school, makes $280,000 plus use of a university-owned house. She is also provided with a car.
Richard Karp, chairperson of UC's Faculty Senate, said coaches' salaries are always a concern, but are even more of a concern now with the university "undergoing some draconian budget cuts because of a loss of state support. We're losing staff people, we have to look at our academic offerings and doing a lot of belt tightening.
"The timing is not really good for hearing what our athletic coaches are doing."
UC athletic director Bob Goin says he understands those concerns.
"I wish (coaches' contracts) weren't as high as they are," Goin said. "We think we've remained fairly sane about our coaches. Our base salary for our coach is very comparable with professors' salaries.
"Where our coaches get extra money is off TV and radio contracts and speaking when they go out do some PR work. That's where Mark's is."
The average salary for a full professor at UC is $84,700.
Dantonio also has an attendance clause that pays him an additional $60,000 if the Bearcats draw at least 40,000 fans this season. With long-time rival Miami playing at Nippert Stadium on Sept. 11, UC is likely to pass the 40,000 mark on Oct. 2 when the Bearcats play Alabama-Birmingham in their second home game of the season.
"That's pretty much a given," Goin said. "That's just a way to get that package competitive."
Dantonio's minimum compensation is roughly half of what basketball coach Bob Huggins is guaranteed to make each year.
Huggins, who has led the Bearcats to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and one Final Four appearance in 15 years, is guaranteed total compensation of at least $1 million per year, including all benefits and internal and external revenue such as revenue from shoe and clothing apparel, camps, speaking engagements and endorsements.
Huggins' contract was last updated in 2002 after he was pursued by West Virginia and in response to the contracts being offered in Conference USA to such high-profile coaches as Louisville's Rick Pitino and Memphis' John Calipari.
Pitino, whose contract was recently extended through the 2009-10 season, makes $1.35 million per year and will receive and additional $8 million if he stays at Louisville through the length of the contract, a university spokesman said.
Calipari, also under contract through the 2009-10 season, makes $1.5 million per year, and if he stays at Memphis through the length of his contract, he receives a $2.5-million annuity, a university spokesman said.
Huggins' contract is automatically extended each year on July 1 so that he is always in the first year of a four-year contract.
"We tried to make him competitive," Goin said, "knowing he was never going to fall below that number as long as he coached basketball at the University of Cincinnati."
Dantonio can boost his first-year earnings to $604,583 by reaching several realistic incentives. If the Bearcats play in a bowl game, which they did in three of Minter's last four years, he receives an additional $40,000.
He'll receive $20,000 if attendance at any home game exceeds 32,000 with at least 25,000 paid. The Miami game attracted 31,478 fans the last time it was played at Nippert in 2002.
If the football team's graduation rate equals or exceeds 50 percent, he receives a bonus equal to one month's salary - or $14,583. The bonus increases as the graduation rate increases.
And if UC beats a Top 25 team, Dantonio receives $15,000.
Dantonio will also receive $75,000 for each year he remains at UC through the term of the contract.
"What it boils down to," Goin said, "is trying to put a package together that's attractive enough that you can attract a high-quality person, particularly going into the Big East."
UC, currently a member of Conference USA, will enter the Big East Conference for the 2005-06 season.
"The truth is that's what the market is," Goin said. "That's the business we're in. I didn't create the business. I'm trying to put a little bit of sanity in it, but I'm not sure I'm winning.
"I want the University of Cincinnati to be able to compete at the highest level. We've got to attract the best people we can at market value."
BIG-TIME COLLEGE SPORTS, BIG-TIME MONEY
|TERMS OF UC FOOTBALL COACH MARK DANTONIO'S 5-YEAR CONTRACT
|Signing bonus||$90,000 repaid in full by coach if he's not the coach at start of 2004 season|
|Public relations and alumni relations||$60,000|
|If UC draws total of 40,000 home attendance in a season||$60,000 |
|For winning the national championship or appearing in the national championship game||$100,000 |
|For appearance in a BCS bowl||$75,000|
|For any other bowl appearance||$40,000|
|For Top 20 finish in BCS rankings||$75,000 |
|For Top 25 finish in one of following polls: USA Today, CNN, AP, Sporting News, Football News, or College Football News||$25,000|
|For a victory over a team ranked at the time of the victory or at the end of the season over a Top 25 team in either AP or USA Today poll||$15,000 |
|For conference coach of the year award||$20,000 |
| For national coach of the year||$40,000|
|For each game in which total attendance equals or exceeds 32,000 (at least 25,000 paid)||$20,000 |
|If he is the coach for the first game of the 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 seasons, paid no later than 30 days after the start of each affected season||$75,000|
|Graduation incentive||If yearly graduation rate equals or exceeds 50 percent, bonus equal to one month's base salary ($14,583); if it exceeds 60 percent, two months' salary; if it exceeds 70 percent, three months salary; if it exceeds 80 percent, four months salary.|
|Other perks||Use of automobile for Dantonio and his wife; 12 football season tickets and four basketball season tickets; country club membership; authorization to use university facilities for summer youth football camp.|
TERMS OF UC BASKETBALL COACH BOB HUGGINS' 4-YEAR ROLLOVER CONTRACT
|Camp money||University guarantees at least $50,000 each year in revenues beyond reasonable expenses for summer basketball camp at UC.|
|Bonus for each year he stays at UC||$75,000 |
|For appearing first game of NCAA Tournament||$20,000 |
|Second game of NCAA Tournament||$20,000|
|First game of regional||$30,000 |
|Second game of regional||$40,000 |
|Appearance in Final Four game||$60,000 |
|Appearance in national championship game||$100,000 |
|National championship||$100,000 |
|For being named national coach of the year by one of eight organizations ||$25,000 |
|Conference tournament championship||$20,000|
|C-USA coach of the year||$10,000|
|For defeating Top 25 team at time UC plays it||$10,000|
|Graduation incentive||$20,000 if 50 percent of scholarship athletes graduate within 15 paid scholarship quarters of their initial enrollment.|
|Annuity||UC makes an annual payment of $305,000 for a deferred annuity that was transferred to Huggins' name on April 15 of this year. |
|Total compensation||University guarantees that Huggins' total compensation package, including all benefits and internal and external revenue, will remain at least $1,000,000. External revenue includes but is not limited to shoe and clothing apparel, camps, speaking engagements and endorsements.|
|Other perks||Country club membership, use of automobile.|
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