Final approval came Wednesday morning for employment contracts for two of Alabama’s highest paid public officials.
Nick Saban’s three-year contract extension was approved by the compensation committee of the UA Board of Trustees during a morning teleconference, along with basketball coach Anthony Grant’s initial employment contract.
The marquee contract was Saban’s — one that will make him the richest coach in the nation again.
The previously announced three-year extension will keep him in Tuscaloosa through 2017 and calls for his annual salary to remain at the 2012 level, $4.2 million, for each of the three extra years. When combining the base pay and scheduled bonuses, Saban is set to make an average of $4.7 million per ear and a total of $42.35 million during the next nine years.
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Florida’s Urban Meyer’s recently signed contract calls for him to be paid $4.2 million per season for six years.
Holding the title of highest paid coach isn’t a concern, Saban said Wednesday.
“I have to be here to earn it,” Saban said. “Everything else is the same. If I earn it, it’s good. So you don’t count it until you earn it.”
When Saban and the school agreed to terms Aug. 29, the coach said the Alabama job likely will be his last in a nomadic career that never saw him stay in one job longer than five seasons.
Completion bonuses and “market-rate reviews” figure to sweeten the deal. If Saban completes the extended contract, he will receive $5 million in the completion bonuses spread over three payments. The first such bonus of $1.6 million would be paid in January 2012, with two others of $1.7 million apiece set to pay out in 2015 and 2018.
The base pay rate could get bumped higher based on salaries paid by other top programs. Beginning Feb. 1 of 2015 and continuing for the next two seasons, Saban and the university will meet to examine payment trends in the Southeastern Conference and the rest of the NCAA. If Saban’s salary falls behind the top three coaches in the SEC or the top five in the entire NCAA, it would be raised “to the higher of the two averages.”
Saban’s original eight-year, $32 million contract was the richest in the country in 2007. Since then, several coaches, including Southern California’s Pete Carroll, Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and Meyer have signed contracts that surpass Saban’s.
Under the new deal that includes the escalator clause, Saban would stand to benefit from an environment that continues to rewards success of coaches around the country with high-dollar contracts.
The seven-year deal finalized for Anthony Grant will pay the first-year basketball coach $1.8 million per season with a $50,000 signing bonus. Other bonuses run from $15,000 for the SEC West title to $250,000 for a national championship.