Heath's salary almost triple
Want an indication of the commitment USF is making to its basketball program? New coach Stan Heath, introduced at a press conference Tuesday, will earn nearly three times as much as the contract the Bulls gave to coach Robert McCullum four years ago.
McCullum's contract initially paid a base salary of $200,000, with a TV/radio bonus of $50,000. Heath's contract, signed Sunday and released to the Times on Tuesday, carries a base salary of $325,000, with a TV/radio payment of $350,000 (hey, that weekly show better be improved) for a total compensation of $675,000 before incentives.
Heath is also looking out for his assistants -- with strong indications Tuesday that at least two of his Arkansas assistants, Dan Hipsher and Oronde Taliaferro, would like to join him in Tampa. The salary pool for McCullum's assistants was $210,000; under Heath's contract, he'll have $375,000 for three assistants and a director of basketball operations.
Aside from the salary itself, the most noticeable difference in Heath's contract is a more aggressive buyout, should Heath seek to terminate his contract to coach elsewhere. In such a case, the contract calls for Heath to pay back his base salary for one month (about $27,000) for each month remaining on his contract. So if, for instance, a school were to try to hire Heath away after two seasons, the buyout would be approximately $972,000. By comparison, if McCullum had sought to terminate his original contract after two seasons, his buyout would have been $50,000.
Want a sign of higher expectations for USF's success under Heath? Heath's contract includes much of the same incentives as McCullum's -- for conference championships, NCAA berths, reaching the Sweet 16, etc. But while the highest incentive McCullum's contract anticipated was reaching the Elite Eight, Heath's new deal has higher provisions, with $25,000 for reaching the Final Four and $50,000 for winning a national title. Again, it's unlikely he'll reach those new incentives, but it shows something that USF wants them addressed as possibilities. If you want an example of how Heath values family in his program, his contract includes a new incentive that pays for the spouses of his assistant coaches to travel with the team on any trips to the NIT or NCAA tournaments.
Lots more coming tonight on Stan Heath and reaction from players, fans, etc ... Surely you guys have questions, so fire those off, either with posts here or e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org ...