It’s been a tumultuous ride for Utah State Women’s Basketball over the last few years, to say the least. After eight years with Jerry Finkbeiner at the helm, the last of which saw him turning the reigns over to his assistant coach (who also happened to be his son), Utah State decided it was time to move on. Their selection? An up-and-coming assistant coach from the University of Denver, Kayla Ard. Kayla hails from Louisiana, and the charming southern drawl is ever present when you hear her speak.
Kayla immediately brought a breath of fresh air and some much needed excitement to Utah State. She’s been great on social media, and has reached out repeatedly to Aggie students and fans alike. She’s even ponied up her own money as a prize to attend specific Women’s Basketball events. Kayla is widely accepted as a very likeable person, and the fans seemed to latch on to the excitement. The general consensus was that it was a good hire by recently departed Athletics Director John Hartwell.
Unfortunately, the new blood and excitement hasn’t led to great results on the court. In her first season at Utah State, Kayla posted a 4-20 record and a 10th place finish in the Mountain West Conference. Her second season saw some improvement to an 11-19 record and 9th place finish. However, for whatever reason, every athlete except two left the team after the 2021-22 season leaving Coach Ard scrambling to find new players to field a squad for the 2022-23 season.
The 2022-23 season has not gone well. The Aggies started off with a pair of convincing wins over Fort Lewis College (exhibition) and NAIA opponent College of Idaho. Unfortunately things went downhill from there with the Aggies losing their next five games by an average of 22 points per game. The Aggies are still searching for much needed pieces, and desperately need to find a way to gel together before conference season begins on December 29th.
A few questions have recently been posed online asking what Coach Ard’s contract terms look like. USUStats has obtained Coach Ard’s contract with Utah State, and here’s a breakdown below:
Year 1 – $215,000
Year 2 – $215,000
Year 3 – $215,000
Year 4 – $215,000
Year 5 – $215,000
The base contract is five years at $215K per year plus several employee benefits and bonuses as outlined below.
Team wins the National Championship = $100,000
Team qualifies as a Final Four Participant = $50,000
Team wins the Conference Tournament Championship = $15,000
Team wins the regular season Conference Championship (either outright
Champion or Co-Champion) = $15,000
Team maintains a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 960 = $5,000
Team granted an at-large NCAA Tournament Bid = $10,000
Team wins an NCAA Tournament Game = $10,000
Note: each win at an NCAA Tournament will qualify Coach for a $10,000
Team invited to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament = $5,000
Team wins the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Championship = $10,000
Team is ranked (Associated Press Poll) at the end of a season in the:
Top 10 = $50,000
Top 20 = $25,000
Top 25 = $10,000
Note: This category of supplemental compensation is mutually exclusive, meaning that only one amount will be paid if the Team is ranked within the Top 25 (e.g. If the team was ranked as 14, then $25,000 would be awarded; NOT $25,000 for the Top 20 AND $10,000 for the Top 25.
Coach is selected as the “Conference Coach of the Year” by the Conference as voted by the Conference coaches = $10,000
Coach is selected as the national “Coach of the Year” by the Associated Press, the Atlanta Tipoff Club (Naismith College Coach of the Year), or the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) = $25,000
Team wins a rival game against BYU or University of Utah = $2,500
Buyout Clause (in my own words):
If Utah State were to terminate the agreement for convenience (i.e. USU fires Ard for low performance), they are required to pay 75% of the pro-rated amount of base pay still remaining on the contract.
For example, as of March 31, 2023 Coach Ard will have $430K remaining on her contract for years 4-5. If Utah State were to fire her, they would owe 75% of that remaining salary, or $322,500.
The same goes for the inverse. If Coach Ard were to terminate the agreement for convenience (i.e. Ard leaves for another position elsewhere) the buyout would also be 75% of the remaining cumulative salary owed.
Click the image below to download the official contract discussed in this article.
What are your thoughts on Coach Ard thus far in her career? What do you think of the contract? Let us know in the comments section below!