Coach Danny Sprinkle’s Contract with Utah State

For Utah State Basketball fans, this past year has been quite the whirlwind. Going into the season expectations were not high, and Utah State was picked to finish 8th in the Mountain West preseason poll. The Aggies picked up a couple of key transfers in Dan Akin and Taylor Funk and ended up exceeding all expectations. The Aggies NET rating was in the top 40 all season, ending the year at #23. Utah State finished the season with a 26-9 record and made it to the Mountain West Conference Championship, once again facing San Diego State. Fun fact: The Aggies and Aztecs have met in 4 of the last 5 Mountain West Tournament Championships. The Aggies fell just short to the Aztecs (who ended up as National Championship runner-ups), but still received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. It was the all-familiar story for Aggie fans in the Big Dance as the team fell short once again in the first round, suffering a 76-65 loss to Missouri.

Optimism was in the air, but was quickly deflated as rumors of Ryan Odom leaving town started swirling around Cache Valley. Odom was rumored to be the top target for the University of Southern Florida job, but ended up becoming the head coach for VCU. Despair was creeping in the weeks passed by with no head coach in Logan, and Aggie players entering the transfer portal left and right.

Enter Danny Sprinkle. Utah State’s interim athletics director Jerry Bovee was able to lure away the head coach of the Montana State Bobcats to be the new coach at Utah State. This was no easy task as Danny was a basketball star at Montana State during his playing years, and was essentially in his dream job. But the promise of a large increase in salary, with the privilege of playing in one of the top college basketball atmospheres in the country sealed the deal. During his introductory press conference Danny said: “As for the Spectrum, it is one of the best home-court atmospheres in the country, and I can’t wait to work with The HURD and get that place rocking.” Danny led Montana State to an 81-43 record while head coach, including two straight NCAA Tournament Appearances. He hopes to continue this level of success and consistent post-season appearances at Utah State.

Despite losing every meaningful contributor from the 2022-23 Utah State Basketball squad, Coach Sprinkle has infused optimism in the program, securing several key transfers to include:
Darius Brown II (Sr. from Montana State) – Defensive player of the year in the Big Sky
Great Osobor (Jr. from Montana State) – 6th man of the year in the Big Sky
Nigel Burris (Jr. from Idaho) – Freshmen of the year in the Big Sky
Josh Uduje (Jr. from Coastal Carolina) – Dynamic scorer who averaged 13.3 points per game last year
Jackson Grant (Jr. from Washington) – Former McDonald’s All American
Max Agbonkpolo (Sr. from Wyoming) – 4 star-recruit who played for USC and then Wyoming

USUStats was able to obtain a copy of Danny Sprinkle’s initial contract with Utah State. This is not the finalized contract, but a higher level agreement between Danny and the University. It includes the main important aspects, but does not yet define details for bonuses that may be achieved through in-season accomplishments.

Here’s the breakdown of what is included in the contract:

Base Pay (Including Media Compensation):

Year 1 – $900,000
Year 2 – $925,000
Year 3 – $950,000
Year 4 – $975,000
Year 5 – $1,000,000

The base contract is five years at $900K per year with a $25K raise each year.

Staff Salary Pool:

The agreement includes $530K to be used for three assistant coaches and $150K for operations and administrative positions and one full-time Grad Assistant. It states that the assistant salary pool will be reviewed annually between the Coach and University.


The bonuses are not specified, but the agreement states that the incentive payments will be “reasonably consistent with the terms of incentive payments for USU’s most recent head men’s basketball coach.” Coach Ryan Odom’s contract details can be found on this blog post from March, 2022.

Buyout Clause (in my own words):

If Utah State were to terminate the agreement for convenience (i.e. USU fires Sprinkle for low performance), they are required to pay 75% of the pro-rated amount of base pay still remaining on the contract.

For example, at the start of his employment, Coach Sprinkle has a total of $4,750,000 in remaining salary on the 5-year agreement. If he were to be immediately fired, he would be owed 75% of that which would be $3,562,500. If he were to be fired after the completion of his second season he would be owed $2,193,750 ($2,925,000 * .75).

The same goes for the inverse. If Coach Sprinkle were to terminate the agreement for convenience (i.e. Sprinkle leaves for another position elsewhere) the buyout would also be 75% of the remaining cumulative salary owed. However, there is an extra clause that favors Coach Sprinkle the longer he stays at Utah State. The buyout is reduced to only 50% of the remaining salary after the completion of the second year as coach, and for the remainder of his contract.

Differences between the Sprinkle contract and previous contracts:

Coach Sprinkle’s contract is actually more similar to Coach Craig Smith’s contract than Coach Ryan Odom’s contract. Coach Smith had the built in raises, whereas coach Odom’s salary stayed stable at $800K per year for 5 years. However, Coach Sprinkle’s contract started out as the highest paying initial men’s coach contract ever at Utah State. Coach Smith started at $650,000 and Coach Odom started at $800,000 while Coach Sprinkle starts out at $900,000. The incentive bonuses will likely be similar between all three contracts.

Coach Sprinkle’s buyout clause seems to be a mix between what was offered to the last two coaches. Coach Smith had a 75% buyout clause for both parties, but that clause was quickly changed to be much more favorable to Coach Smith upon his contract extension. Coach Odom’s buyout started out at only 50% of the remaining salary and shifted to only 35% of the remaining salary after the completion of his second season. It appears that Utah State is interested in keeping Coach Sprinkle long term, or at least would like to be well compensated if coach decides to leave for another program.

Click the image below to download the full initial contract agreement.

USUStats will post the full employment agreement once it is signed and obtained. What are your thoughts on the new coach and the initial contract agreement?