Bill O'Brien arrived at Penn State as a somewhat anonymous NFL assistant with no previous head-coaching experience. His initial contract at Penn State reflected these credentials.
Seventeen months later, O'Brien is the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year and the recipient of several national coaching honors after guiding Penn State to an 8-4 mark in his first season at the helm. A raise was in order -- his initial contract stipulated so -- and it has arrived.
It's a big one.
Penn State on Thursday announced an amended contract for O'Brien that boosts his base salary by nearly $1 million, from $950,000 to $1,932,779. His total compensation increases to $3,282,779 for next year, which makes him the Big Ten's third highest-paid coach behind Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. Not bad for one year on the job.
You can read the revised agreement here.
The contract states that O'Brien's base salary actually drops next July to $1,137,096. It goes up to $1,650,994 the following year, and O'Brien will receive a five percent increase in every contract year that follows.The total value of O'Brien's base salaries spanning the 2013-2016 seasons is $12,789,413, or an average of $3.2 million per year.
Keep in mind Penn State could announce additional amendments and likely will if O'Brien continues his success. O'Brien's new deal states that Penn State will discuss a possible extension in 2016 if he's still coach.
The contract includes an amended buyout if O'Brien leaves for an NFL head-coaching position. He'll now owe Penn State only his remaining base salary for that year multiplied by the number of years remaining on his contract.
Another interesting element is O'Brien's performance incentives: He receives five percent of his base salary for a division title, eight percent for a Big Ten title, 11 percent for making a bowl game and nine percent for winning the national championship game. For the next three seasons, Penn State agrees to pay O'Brien up to $200,000 based on estimates of what O'Brien would have earned if NCAA sanctions hadn't been imposed on the program.
Credit Penn State for being proactive with O'Brien, who talked with three NFL teams after the season. The NFL rumors aren't going away, but Penn State is doing all it can to keep BO'B the builder in Happy Valley.