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New contracts for Bulls' Fernandez, Kiefer



Two of USF's most successful coaches have new contracts with impressive raises, as the Bulls announced Friday that women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez and men's soccer coach George Kiefer have both signed new deals through the 2017-18 school year.

Fernandez, who led his team to its first NCAA Tournament victory last month, got a five-year, $1.75-million contract, and his average compensation of $350,000 is up 63 percent from the three-year contract he signed in 2010. Kiefer, who guided the Bulls to the NCAA's Elite Eight in 2008 and 2011, had a year left on his 2010 contract but was given a five-year extension worth $700,000, representing a 33 percent raise from his last deal.

"Jose has taken our women's basketball program to new heights under his leadership, including last season's trip to the NCAA Tournament," athletic director Doug Woolard said in a statement. "George has built our men's soccer program into a national power that is contending not only for conference championships, but national championships. We're excited to see both of them continue to build off of their success in the coming years."

The raises are a sign that USF can continue growing its athletic program even as the Bulls move from the Big East to the American Athletic Conference this summer. Fernandez and Kiefer have had some of USF's most consistent postseason success -- women's basketball has seven WNIT appearances and two NCAA trips in the past 10 seasons, while Kiefer has made the NCAAs seven times in his 11 seasons as head coach.

"This is a credit to the strong staff we have at USF, the student-athletes and the great support of our fans," Kiefer said in a statement. "We've had a strong run up to this point, and we're inches away from winning a national championship. We look forward to continuing to build on the success we've had, and I'm extremely excited for what's to come for this program."

Fernandez was able to negotiate a pool for assistant coaches, set initially at $307,000 for three assistants and a director of basketball operations. It's worth noting that while Fernandez would receive a $15,000 bonus if the Bulls reach the NCAA Tournament again, his assistants would split a larger bonus of $25,000.

"We have unlimited success in front of us here," Fernandez said in a statement. "I look forward to what is ahead for our program and expect to make our university and the city of Tampa proud. My goal is to contend for conference titles, and as a result, position this program to compete for national championships."

The new contracts represent significant commitments on both ends, with expensive buyouts for either party. If Fernandez wanted to leave USF in the next two years, he would have to pay $250,000 to get out of his contract; that figure drops to $125,000 in the following two years and $60,000 in 2017-18. Kiefer would have to pay USF $130,000 to leave in 2013, and that figure drops gradually to $40,000 in 2016. Both coaches would be entitled to payment even if fired "without cause" (for not winning enough) -- Kiefer would be continued to be paid his salary for the remainder of the contract, while Fernandez would receive $175,000 for each year remaining on his deal. Fernandez's contract calls for a base salary of $175,000, with a yearly supplement that starts at $125,000 (for $300,000 total in 2013-14) and increases to $225,000 in the final year (for $400,000 total in 2017-18).

Both coaches have numerous incentives in their contracts. Fernandez, in addition to his $15,000 bonus for reaching the NCAAs, would get another $10,000 for each NCAA Tournament win. He can earn $25,000 for a regular-season or tournament American championship, or $10,000 for being conference coach of the year, or $5,000 for reaching the NIT. Kiefer, too, gets $5,000 for a regular-season or tournament championship, $5,000 for being honored as conference coach of the year, and escalating bonuses for each level of the NCAA Tournament.

In all, both coaches have managed to more than double their salaries in a four-year span. Fernandez's average salary is $350,000 after earning $135,000 as recently as 2009-10; Kiefer's average is $140,000 after making $60,000 in 2009-10.

[Last modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 7:44pm]


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