As the Mountain West regular season comes to a close tomorrow night, with a few teams still jockeying for position in the conference tournament, I think it’s safe to say that coach Craig Smith has exceeded all expectations.
The Utah State Aggies ended their season the same way they started it, snatching a tough road victory while scoring 100+ points. The win at Colorado State on Tuesday night guaranteed at least a share of the Mountain West Conference Regular Season Championship. Whether they win it outright will be determined tomorrow night as Nevada hosts San Diego State in each team’s final game of the season. If Nevada wins, they will be co-champions with Utah State, otherwise Utah State is the outright champion.
As I began reflecting on the season, the first thing that came to my mind is that Utah State administration should be planning on giving Coach Smith a raise and contract extension. The man has definitely earned it. The Aggies were picked to finish 9th in the Mountain West and ended up winning the championship posting an impressive 25-6 regular season record. Many believe that Utah State is set to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens next week in the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas. In many people’s opinions (including my own), Coach Smith is the front runner for the Mountain West Coach of the Year award.
So how much is Utah State paying Coach Smith, and what bonuses are included in his contract? I have obtained a copy of the official contract from Utah State University, and here are the details.
Coach Smith signed a 5-year agreement beginning on March 25, 2018 and ending on March 31, 2023 (at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season).
Base Pay (including $100,000 for media appearances per year):
Year 1 – $650,000
Year 2 – $675,000
Year 3 – $700,000
Year 4 – $725,000
Year 5 – $750,000
Team wins the National Championship = $100,000
Team qualifies as a Final Four Participant = $50,000
Team wins the Conference Tournament Championship = $25,000
Team wins the regular season Conference Championship (either outright
Champion or Co-Champion) = $25,000
Team maintains a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 952 = $10,000
Team granted an at-large NCAA Tournament Bid = $20,000
Team wins an NCAA Tournament First Four Game = $10,000
Team wins an NCAA Tournament Game (excluding a First Four Game) = $20,000
Note: each win at an NCAA Tournament will qualify Coach for a $20,000
Team invited to the National Invitation Tournament = $10,000
Tean wins the 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 = $5,000
Buyout Clause (in my own words):
If EITHER Party (Utah State or Coach Smith) terminate the agreement for convenience (i.e. USU fires Smith for low performance or Smith leaves for another position elsewhere), the party who terminates the agreement must pay the other party an amount equaling 75% of the pro-rated amount of base pay still remaining on the contract.
So when the contract was initiated that equated to a $2,625,000 buyout. Currently it should be closer to $2,200,000 since most of the first year has been completed and paid. I found this to be an interesting clause as often times there is a set amount for buyout, and the team is required to pay the full amount owed if they fire the coach. I like this arrangement better. It also includes a clause stating that if Coach Smith is fired that he must seek employment elsewhere at fair market rates, and that his payout from USU would be decreased by the amount of his new paycheck.
If this Agreement is terminated for convenience by Coach, then Coach shall not for a period of one (1) year after such termination by Coach recruit any high school athlete previously recruited by USU, unless such athlete had been recruited by any new institution employing Coach prior to the notice of termination by Coach to USU, unless otherwise agreed to by USU.
Overall, I think that this contract is very well put together. Much moreso than the Tim Duryea contract (we won’t go there). I like all of the bonuses, and really like the buyout and recruiting clauses. There are more perks included in the full contract, that can be found below.
So, it’s time to get your lawyers and pens ready, John Hartwell. Once the team finishes off the season (hopefully with a bang) it will be time to extend this contract out and give the man a well deserved raise!