Thursday, November 30, 2006
Ka-ching! Coaches rack up rewards this week
November 29, 2006
By Michael McCarthy and Jodi Upton, USA TODAY
College football coaches will be playing a game within their final regular-season games this weekend: the pursuit of millions of dollars of performance bonuses built into their employment contracts.
Nearly every coach receives an array of incentives for leading his team to a bowl game, winning a conference championship or landing a berth in one of the five big-money Bowl Championship Series games in January, according to USA TODAY's analysis of their deals.
Agent Neil Cornrich of NC Sports says: "Head coaches are the CEOs of their companies. Bonuses allow coaches to share in the added value they create with superior performance."
Coaches coach to win games, says Boise State's Chris Petersen, whose team has completed a 12-0 regular season and almost surely will be included in the BCS when its matchups are announced Sunday. Bonuses, he adds, are gravy. "It's not like you're going to coach any harder," he says. "I guess it's just the American way."
Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich — whose coach, Bobby Petrino, has the Big East Conference title, a BCS bid and about $400,000 at stake — says he proposed the various bonuses to Petrino.
That's a lot of money riding on one game, Jurich says, "but if everything falls right on Saturday, we stand to make a lot more than that. (Petrino) should share in the rewards."
If all falls right for Ohio State and Jim Tressel, already in the national title game, the school is to begin renegotiating his contract, now worth a little more than $2 million annually.