UNM and Pitino: So here’s the deal

The ink has dried.

And now Richard Pitino is really the coach of the UNM Lobo men’s basketball team.

Six months after the announcement of their college basketball marriage, and a week before the start of the first official practice for the 2021-22 season, the lawyers crossed all t’s and dotted every i’s on the six-year contract. between the university and the 39- Pitino, one year.

Pitino actually signed the contract in July, and UNM president Garnett Stokes and athletic director Eddie Nuñez signed the final version on August 26. The Journal received a copy of the contract on Monday.

Details of the deal that will pay Pitino a base salary and compensation of $ 4.975 million over six years – $ 775,000 in the first year, $ 800,000 for the next five seasons and $ 200,000 in loyalty bonuses – remain the same as what the Journal first reported on March 18. from the original condition sheet of the agreement. The contract makes Pitino the highest paid public employee in the state in terms of base salary and pay before bonuses. UNM Lobo football coach Danny Gonzales earns $ 700,000 in base salary and compensation.

But there are now official terms for the bonuses Pitino can receive and details of the widely reflected redemption penalty clauses that both parties have agreed to if he quits his job before March 31, 2027.

If Pitino chooses to leave before March 31, 2022, he owes UNM $ 2.4 million. That amount drops dramatically on April 1 of each season – to $ 2 million in year two of the deal, $ 1.2 million in year three, $ 600,000 in year four, $ 300,000 in year five, and no buybacks. during the last season of the transaction.

UNM owes Pitino the same dollar amounts every season if he fires him without cause.

But Pitino, who has spent the past eight seasons coaching the Big Ten’s Minnesota Golden Gophers before accepting Nuñez’s offer for the Lobos job literally a day after being officially fired in Minnesota, also has a clause that could reduce this buyout if his boss leaves or is fired from UNM.

“If, during the term of (Pitino’s) contract, Eddie Nuñez’s contract expires, it is terminated or if he no longer serves as the director of interuniversity sports at the University, the (redemption amounts) stated in this section will be reduced by fifty percent (50%) for a period of the later of the following dates: (a) 90 days from the date of such separation; or, (b) the last day of the Contractual Employment Year in which the termination took place. “

Essentially, once Nuñez leaves, Pitino has 90 days to let UNM know that he also wants to come out for a significantly reduced buyout.

In addition, any work as a coach that he accepts in the event of dismissal, or any “employment as a media consultant, on-air personality or analyst”, would mitigate the redemption that UNM owes him.

Pitino’s predecessor Paul Weir is now the athletic director of Eastern New Mexico University, and UNM must pay $ 590,000 to have him fired – $ 245,000 owed to Weir in each of the next two years. and $ 100,000 owed to the state of New Mexico as part of the buyout deal Weir put in place there before leaving to take the UNM job in April 2017.

THIS SALARY: As previously reported, Pitino receives $ 400,000 per year in base salary, $ 200,000 per year for media obligations with any broadcast partnership entered into by UNM, and $ 175,000 (year one) / $ 200,000 (each subsequent year). ) for the promotion of the program as Nuñez deems appropriate.

There is a retention bonus of $ 100,000 after four years, then $ 50,000 after the fifth and sixth year each.

BONUS: There is about $ 65,000 in bonuses – or “incentive salary” payments for attorneys – per year available to Pitino before he has to win an NCAA tournament.

Grabbing the longest drought in Lobo’s modern-era playoff schedule (considered by the Journal to be the start of Bob King’s coaching era in the 1960s), would get Pitino $ 10,000 for having participated in the NCAA tournament – either by winning the Mountain West tournament or receiving a berth – with additional bonuses of up to $ 100,000 with a national championship.

Pitino can also raise $ 10,000 for a regular season title from Mountain West, being named the league’s coach of the year, for any semester his players pass 80% of the classes they initially sign up for ( targeting both passing classes, but also brake players for dropping out of classes) and $ 15,000 if the team’s academic progress rate does not drop below 970 over the course of a year. (The program’s APR has not been below 975 in any season over the past decade.)

OTHER NEW DETAILS: While widely standard in training contracts for football, men’s basketball, and most women’s basketball programs, “other” benefits for Pitino include: a courtesy car; his wife and children can go to away games on college penny; a country club membership; 12 men’s and 12 women’s basketball season tickets and for the playoffs; eight football subscriptions; and he received up to $ 25,000 to relocate from Minnesota.


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