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December 6, 2013 at 3:36 PM

UW coaching shuffle racks up 4 coaches and more than $1.5 million in buyouts — and counting

Coaches Steve Sarkisian, left, and Chris Petersen meet at midfield after Boise State defeated Washington 28-26 in the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl.

Coaches Steve Sarkisian, left, and Chris Petersen meet at midfield after Boise State defeated Washington 28-26 in the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl.

At latest count, four University of Washington football coaches have bolted Montlake this week for USC, breaching their UW employment contracts in the process.

The chain-reaction of coaching moves has triggered damage clauses in their contracts, racking up more than $1.5 million in buyout penalties so far for the UW, and likely saving the school another $240,000 in other payments.

The penalty amounts now owed to Washington easily cover the reported $750,000 buyout in Chris Petersen’s contract with Boise State University.  The UW officially named Petersen its new head football coach today, but university officials have yet to release details about how much they’ll pay him.

The Times asked the UW on Friday for a copy of the school’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Petersen. UW officials have so far declined to provide the document, saying they would wait to release Petersen’s contract terms at a Monday press conference.

The UW typically prepares such MOUs to lay out the basic terms for a coaching hire until a more detailed and formal contract is executed. Typically a one- to two-page document, it includes such information as guaranteed annual pay, duration of the contract, moving-expense payments and buyout payments to previous schools.

Petersen will replace Steve Sarkisian, the highest-paid coach in Huskies history, who was set to make $2.875 million guaranteed next season.  Additional perks and benefits would have put Sarkisian’s minimum total compensation at more than $3 million for the 2014 season.

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