Chris Petersen will earn $3.2 million in his first year as the University of Washington’s new football coach, with his guaranteed pay climbing by $200,000 each year over the next five years.
By year five of his contract, “Coach Pete” will join an elite group of football coaches by becoming a $4 million man.
UW officials on Monday released the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing the basic terms of Petersen’s 5-year, $18 million contact. (See a copy of the MOU here.)
The deal not only makes Petersen the highest-paid coach in Washington history, but also the current top-earner among the Pac 12’s 10 public universities (Southern California and Stanford, both private schools, aren’t subject to disclosing pay details).
Along with the yearly guaranteed pay, the MOU — signed Friday by UW Athletic Director Scott Woodward and the new coach — shows Petersen can earn up to $1.175 million in pay bonuses each year based on his team’s on-field and in-the-classroom performances.
The incentives range from a $50,000 bonus for a Pac 12 championship game appearance to $500,000 for winning the national championship under the new college football playoff system to be implemented next season.
Petersen’s maximum academic bonus tops out at $125,000 — awarded if his student-athletes score 970 or better on the Academic Progress Rate, an NCAA team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention requirements for student-athletes. In all, Petersen’s deal offers maximum bonuses of $1.05 million for team performance achievements and $125,000 for academic ones.
Petersen also will garner benefits and perks, including season tickets for all UW sports, standard employee health benefits, an unspecified amount of moving and temporary housing expenses and up to two courtesy vehicles.
Washington also agreed to buy out Petersen’s contract at Boise State for $750,000, plus pay him up to $500,000 to cover any potential tax burden from that transaction, the record shows.
The MOU states Petersen’s contract will include a provision for an automatic extension through Jan. 31, 2020, “in the event that Scott Woodward is no longer serving as the University’s Director of Athletics and the contract term has not previously been extended beyond that date.”
Should Petersen leave the UW early before the contract expires, he’ll face a $3 million buyout in the first year; $2.5 million in years two and three, and $1.5 million in year four.
Introduced to the Seattle media today as the Huskies new coach, Petersen replaces Steve Sarkisian, who abruptly announced his departure last week to take the head coach’s job at USC.
As The Seattle Times recently detailed, Sarkisian — who, until Petersen, had been the UW’s highest-paid coach — earned more than $2.9 million last year in total pay (guaranteed pay, perks and benefits) and was set to make more than $3 million next year.
Sarkisian ranked 26th — and second in the Pac 12 — among the highest paid coach’s in college football for his pay in 2012, according to pay data published this year by USA Today. In all, eight coaches nationwide earned $4 million or more in guaranteed pay last year.
A formal contract with Petersen could take up to several weeks to be executed, UW officials have said.