Go ahead and smile, Charlie Strong. One week after the Texas Longhorns officially announced his hiring, UT regents have approved the new head coach's lucrative contract.
Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com published the details of Strong's five-year deal in Austin. The contract will start at $5 million per year with annual raises of $100,000 and will feature several performance incentives.
Texas will also cover Louisville's hefty $4.375 million buyout, making Strong's pay an astronomical $9.375 million in 2014.
The big prize for the former Louisville head coach is a $250,000 bonus if Texas takes home a national title. He'll also earn $100,000 for a Big 12 championship and $100,000 for an appearance in the championship game.
Brown also outlined several other postseason incentives, based on which bowl berth UT earns. The biggest bonus will come with an appearance in one of the six major bowls. The Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls will be the top six for the new College Football Playoff system set to commence next year:
|Charlie Strong Performance Incentives|
|Appear in bowl game other than Major 6||$25,000|
|Win bowl game other than Major 6||$25,000|
|Appear in Major 6 bowl||$50,000|
|Win Major 6 bowl game||$50,000|
|Appearance in championship game||$100,000|
|Win Big 12 title||$100,000|
|Win national championship||$250,000|
|Chip Brown, OrangeBloods.com|
Strong will also earn $100,000 if he is named national coach of the year and $50,000 for any coach of the year award other than national COY. No incentives for individual player awards were listed.
Texas' final ranking will also come into play. If the 'Horns end up in the Top Five or Top 10, he'll be granted an additional three or two percent of his year's salary, respectively.
His final financial incentives will be based off his team's academic performance, as outlined by Brown:
|Strong GPA Incentives|
|Team GPA 2.90||$25,000|
|Team GPA 3.00||$50,000|
|Team GPA 3.10||$75,000|
|Football APR Top 10 Percentile||$75,000|
|Chip Brown, OrangeBloods.com|
Finally, the contract features several personal perks, including a suite at all Texas home games and six season tickets, as well as four season tickets to all other UT men's and women's sports. Texas will also provide travel accommodations for his wife Victoria to various athletic events and official business and entertainment activities.
Strong will also have membership at the UT Golf Club, UT Club and Headliners Club. The contract includes various travel considerations, including up to 20 hours of private flight time and the use of two courtesy cars at a local dealership.
The new contract is a nice step up from Strong's $3.7 million salary at Louisville and will put him among the highest paid coaches in the sport. USA Today's Steve Berkowitz noted that Strong, Nick Saban and Kevin Sumlin will make three coaches pulling in a recurring annual compensation of at least $5 million.
While the enormous price tag shows that Texas has confidence in its new coach, it'll also ratchet up the pressure to perform for Strong.
The stern, defensive-minded boss led Louisville to a 23-3 record in the last two seasons. Before his tenure with the Cardinals, he spent time as a defensive assistant at Florida, where he played a hand in the Gators' two BCS titles in 2006 and 2008.