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USF offers Leavitt lucrative extension



TAMPA -- USF athletic director Doug Woolard is taking a major step to help ensure that Jim Leavitt stays the only football coach in Bulls history, offering him a new contract that would pay him at least $12.6-million over the next seven years, a 70 percent pay raise over the next five seasons.

Leavitt agreed to a seven-year, $7-million deal in November 2005, but after two successful seasons, his new deal would average $1.8-million and extend his contract through the 2014 season.

In all, the new contract would pay him $1.5-million in 2008, nearly triple the $537,680 he made in 2005, two contracts ago.

A copy of the contract offer was obtained Thursday through public records requests; Leavitt and Woolard could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Leavitt, who has coached the Bulls since before their first game in 1997, will also be better equipped to keep his assistant coaches, as the annual pool for their salaries would increase by $200,000 from his current contract. Leavitt lost four assistant coaches to other schools after the 2006 season, but he’s yet to lose one this spring, despite unprecedented success on the field.

The new contract would also increase the buyout required for another school to pry Leavitt from the Bulls, which had been $400,000 through the end of 2011 under his old deal. The buyout now stands at $1-million for 2008, dropping by $100,000 each year until it stops at $500,000 in 2013.

USF had the highest increase in attendance in the nation last fall, with the average crowd at Raymond James Stadium rising by more than 22,000 fans. The Bulls opened the season 6-0, rising to No. 2 in the BCS standings, but finished the season 9-4 and unranked after a 56-21 loss to Oregon in the Sun Bowl.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:08pm]


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