Pearl’s hard work ‘pays’ off; Tennessee gives him top $$$
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2008 5:19 pm
By: By Beth Rucker, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl will make an average of $2.3 million annually through his new six-season contract, which ranks him among the best-paid basketball coaches in the country.
Pearl will earn $1.6 million in the 2008-09 season but is also receiving a one-time $250,000 bonus and an upfront retention bonus of $1.5 million for this year.
His salary will increase incrementally to $2.2 million in the 2013-14 season.
Should Pearl, 48, leave Tennessee in the next year, his buyout would cost $2.5 million — a figure that will decrease incrementally over the next four years to $1 million.
He previously was signed through 2013 and made $1.3 million last season.
“We went to Bruce and talked about giving him some upfront money to incent him to feel even better about Tennessee than he already does,” Tennessee men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton said.
Under Pearl in 2007-08, the Volunteers experienced their best season in school history with a 31-5 record, their first outright regular season Southeastern Conference championship crown since 1967 and a second-consecutive NCAA Tournament regional semifinal appearance.
The Vols also achieved their first top ranking in The Associated Press poll after toppling previously unbeaten Memphis.
Tennessee’s stay at the top was short with the team falling to Vanderbilt the following week.
Pearl also received his second SEC coach of the year recognition this season.
There was some buzz after the season ended that Pearl was being considered for coaching positions elsewhere, but Hamilton attributed that mostly to media buzz and said he never fielded any formal requests for other schools to interview Pearl for a head coaching job.
“Bruce Pearl is very happy at Tennessee,” Hamilton said.
Pearl’s contract includes a base salary of $350,000, $500,000 for media commitments, a $500,000 equipment fee and a $250,000 endorsement fee.
He will receive bonuses based on the team’s highest achievement each season.
Winning an SEC regular season or tournament championship comes with a $75,000 bonus, a Final Four appearance nets a $100,000 bonus and a national championship earns an extra $250,000 for the beloved Pearl.
He also would receive a $25,000 bonus for being named SEC coach of the year or $50,000 for national coach of the year.
Pearl’s pay under his previous contract put him only slightly ahead of women’s coach Pat Summitt, whose contract negotiations are ongoing.
She is scheduled to make $1.275 million next season under the terms of her current contract.
The athletic department increased football ticket prices for the upcoming season to help pay for both salary increases and the rising costs to do business in a tougher economy.
“The folks who are benefactors of the system, who enjoy the wins and the excitement, are the ones who actually in the end are paying for that,” Hamilton said.