Yesterday some of us got into a conversation about Mack Brown and who might (eventually?) succeed him as head coach of the Texas Longhorns. While any number of individuals come to mind as possible successors, I began to ponder not who was most capable of coaching the Texas Longhorn football team, but who was most capable of being the head coach. Aside from being able to recruit, understanding a “Cover 2” defense, knowing the details of a “Zone Read” or when to call “Spider 2 Y Banana,” whoever follows in Mack Brown’s shoes must be able to handle really important decisions, such as which country club to join or which luxury cars to enjoy. To find out the best candidates for the job at Texas, we decided to dig deeper and see which candidates, based on the details of their existing contracts, have shown they are ready to handle the diva aspect of the job at UT. Almost every candidate tells us its not about the money. If its not about the money, then it has to be about benefits hidden in the employment contracts.
Mack Brown’s employment contracts during his tenure at UT haven been rather simple, straight-forward documents. We can easily compare his 2002 contract with the one he signed in 2007 (it was the 2007 contract that was extended and runs through 2020). In addition to his base salary, Brown is given annual “salary supplements” of $60,000 and an annual personal expense allowance of $60,000. While a $60,000 expense allowance seems generous, that amount hasn’t changed for well over a decade to account for inflation. I guess when one goes from $1.7 million to $5.4 million in annual compensation, personally picking up a few dinner tabs becomes a bit easier to do.
Throughout the years, Mack has had two courtesy cars provided for him (he has to report his personal miles to the IRS). In addition to getting bonuses for bowl appearances and the team’s end-of-year ranking in the polls, Brown is also incentivized based upon the graduation rate of his athletes (as calculated by the NCAA). His outside income is highly restricted, and he is required to participate in summer camps as well as various radio and Longhorn Network-related shows.
All things considered, when we look at his contracts, Mack does not live up to the diva-esque image that has been built around him. His contract has consistently been a rather simple nine-page document. His outside endorsements and activities are controlled by the University. When you look at the details, he doesn’t receive many of the perks that are routine and ordinary for many other coaches.
In addition to his base salary (paid in monthly installments just like Mack Brown’s), according to Stoops’ contract he must report all athletic-related income including gifts from friends, gratis country club memberships, resale of his complimentary game tickets, endorsements, shoe contracts and the like. Aside from his head-in-anus performances in bowl games and the fact he has the personality of, well . . . Bob Stoops, I’m already seeing problems with our friend from Oklahoma as a possible successor to Mack Brown. I’m not so sure Texas wants its head coach scalping his complimentary tickets in front of the alumni center on game day before kickoff. Upwards of $4.5 million in annual compensation and they have to even mention the sales of complimentary tickets?!
Stoops requires two courtesy automobiles, up to 45 hours annually of private plane availability, membership and monthly dues at a golf course or country club and 20 football tickets for “friends of the program,” as well as an additional nine tickets for his personal use for each game. Interestingly, Big Game Bob is to receive a bonus of $88,000 for each year his team wins the Big 12 Championship. This probably explains how, in spite of losing to Kansas State (the actual Big 12 champion) last year, Oklahoma still declared itself to have won the Big 12 Championship. Well played, Bob. I’m not so sure that trick would work at Texas, but I’m not surprised it worked at Oklahoma. And in case anyone is wondering, for getting curb stomped by the Aggies in the 2013 Cotton Bowl, Stoops pocketed a “performance” bonus of $71,500. It makes one wonder how much Sooner fans would have been willing to pay to not have been humiliated by Kevin Sumlin.
Bob Stoops would bring minuses and pluses to the UT head coaching job. The biggest minus is that he is Bob Stoops. When I think of any pluses, I’ll be back in touch. One thing is for sure, though, on the diva scale, Bob Stoops is much more of a diva than Mack Brown. Bob, we’ll be in touch. Stay close to your phone. No, seriously, we’ll call you.
The first thing I looked at when I read Nick Saban’s contract was his signature. I always wondered what the signature of “the devil himself” would look like. Nick, I have to say, work on your penmanship. Your handwriting isn’t college material.
Mack Brown’s contract is a succinct nine pages. Saban’s rambles on for 40 freaking pages. That alone starts Saban out at the top of the diva scale. In addition to his salary, Saban enjoys the usual two automobiles paid for by the university. On game days, he is entitled to a 15-seat skybox with 15 complimentary tickets, seven additional tickets to the skybox (imagine being one of the seven poor saps who ends up having to stand for the entire game) and an additional 12 tickets to seats not in the skybox. Keeping Saban high on the diva index is his entitlement to a university-paid country club membership (he has to pick up his own bar tab, though. The university won’t pay for his food or beverages). Amazingly, although making $5.4 million a year, he also gets free athletic apparel and free athletic shoes (take that Florida State!). His demand for 25 hours of flight time each year in a private jet ranks him above Mack Brown at zero hours (who really needs to leave Austin?) but below Bob Stoops’ 45 hours (can we blame Bob for needing to get the hell out of Oklahoma every chance he gets?).
There is no question Nick Saban delivers as a football coach. There is also no question he’s is a diva. $5.4 million a year and he still wants free shoes. Sheesh!
Bob Clawson?! I get the skepticism, but stick with me. So far in his tenure at Bowling Green, Clawson is 22-28 overall with a 16-16 record in Mid-American Conference play. If you think about it, his record isn’t that different than what Mack has delivered for Texas since 2010. In his contract, Clawson is given a pool of $675,000 to divide as he sees fit to pay for his staff of nine assistant coaches. Now that’s value (think what we are still paying Manny Diaz not to coach). Clawson’s bonus for a conference championship is a manageable $2,000.
Clawson isn’t one to pass up his diva-esque perks, though. As with most coaches at the FBS level, he loves his free luxury cars, although Clawson gets only one instead of the two given to other coaches. The attorneys negotiating the contracts for Stoops and Saban fought to have the word “luxury” included to describe the type of cars they would be receiving. Clawson’s agent fought to have the word “used” left out. His golf perk is that he is allowed to play at his choice of two municipal courses in the greater Toledo area without having to pay green fees. We checked, and the most expensive course specified in his contract charges $49 for a premium tee time, $26 for off-peak. They also have a delicious fish fry on Fridays — $7.50 for lunch, $10.50 for dinner.
Clawson is the lowest-paid coach for whom we have a copy of their contract. His overall coaching record of 22-28 trails Coach Brown’s 26-18 record from 2010-2013, but Clawson’s 16-16 conference record is the envy of every Longhorn fan (Mack Brown is 14-15 in the Big 12 since 2010). Dollar for dollar, Clawson has to be the value candidate for the job. His demands for free green fees makes him a diva (albeit a $26 diva), but his willingness to forego the expense account and pick up his fish fry lunch out of his own pocket ranks him well above all other contenders on the “come back down to earth and remember when you did this job because you loved it” scale.
As for the other contenders, Will Muschamp (reported compensation: $2,474,500) gets a thumbs down simply because his contract is 58 long, boring pages. You can’t have a contract longer than Nick Saban’s until you at least beat a Nick Saban–coached team. Art Briles is an interesting candidate. Since Baylor is a private school, his contract is a bit more difficult to find, but based on his contract from his days at the University of Houston, he doesn’t seem to be enough of a diva. We’ve just been through 15 years of a really nice guy. Come on. We need some edge. Art, have your agent get Netjets to take you up in Gulfstream G4. Visit a few Austin–area country clubs. Imagine wearing the latest styles from Nike at the NCAA coaching conventions and sensing the envy of the people who know you got them for free. In short–get your agent to deliver a contract that shows us you can compete on the diva scale. We like you. We really do. Work with us.
My dark horse favorite? Urban Meyer. His contract runs a reasonable 33 pages and in it he agrees to represent the university “positively in public and private forums.” He agrees to “comport himself at all times in a manner consistent with good sportsmanship and in the high moral, ethical and academic standards” of the university. Also, he agrees to “provide his services to and perform to the best of his abilities” on radio and television programs whose duration is specified in length for both radio and television to the minute. Kind of OCD, but not too bad.
He agrees that for recruiting trips he will fly coach, not first class. He doesn’t ask for any courtesy cars. Rather, he is given an allowance ($1,200 a month) and has to manage his own insurance, pump his own gas and take his car in for oil changes himself. A take–charge, independent man (and also probably a Geico man, I suspect).
On the diva scale, in addition to $4.3 million in reported salary, he asks for 12 lower bowl tickets for each home game, a suite (along with university paid food and beverage) for 10 people and three parking passes (I like a man who tells his friends and family to car pool). On top of that, he requests access to 20 additional tickets each game at his own expense and reselling of tickets is strictly prohibited. Also, Meyer uniquely asks for two tickets to each home basketball game (a modest request). We throw in 35 hours annually on the university jet, help in developing the Urban Meyer Foundation (or other agreed–upon charity) and pay for a full golf membership along with monthly dues (but in a Saban-esque concession he picks up his own food and beverage). No free shoes and no head coach reselling complimentary tickets in front of the alumni center on game day.
I admit, I’m leaning toward Urban Meyer. He’s not even 50 (we hired Mack Brown when he was 48) and he already has two national championships. Impressive. Art Briles could be a contender if he just raised his diva quotient. Will Muschamp is a thought, but if it takes you 58 pages to say what Mack Brown can put into nine pages, I’m not so sure I want to sit through your weekly press conferences. Nick Saban is a reasonable, but expensive option. And then there’s Urban Meyer. But…if we can get Art Briles to work with us . . .
Oh, and Bob Stoops. No, seriously, Bob, we’ll call. Any day. Seriously.
Coaches Hot Seat is a good place to look for the contracts of the various coaches. The contracts of those coaching private universities are sometimes difficult to find. Those of NFL coaches are things we have heard of but they are so tough to get a copy of we have never seen one. If you are an NFL coach and interested in the job (I’m talking Mike Tomlin–type interested, not Ken Wisenhunt interested ) send a copy of your contract to HornSports, Attn: Randolph Duke, 1 Hornsports Plaza, Austin, TX 78705, and we will include your contract details in future updates to this article. Reported salaries taken from:
Coaches Hot Seat is a good place to look for the contracts of the various coaches. The contracts of those coaching private universities are sometimes difficult to find. Those of NFL coaches are things we have heard of but they are so tough to get a copy of we have never seen one. If you are an NFL coach and interested in the job (I’m talking Mike Tomlin–type interested, not Ken Wisenhunt interested ) send a copy of your contract to HornSports, Attn: Randolph Duke, 1 Hornsports Plaza, Austin, TX 78705, and we will include your contract details in future updates to this article.
Reported salaries taken from: