Tubby Smith gets $2.5M buyout max

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota's contract extension with coach Tubby Smith includes more incentives, a slight annual pay bump and a higher buyout the university must pay if he's fired after next season.

Smith's three-year extension through the 2016-17 season was finalized on July 23, and the school made the details available to reporters on Friday.

The 61-year-old Smith has the same annual pay structure, now close to $2 million annually, with a $600,000 base salary plus 5 percent annual raises he's been entitled to since 2008 and supplemental compensation of $1.2 million for duties like fundraising, community involvement and endorsements.

That figure is before any bonuses and excludes perks, benefits and the university's retirement contribution that are part of his contract. If Smith's deal is terminated between now and April 30, 2016, the university will pay one-half of his base salary and supplemental compensation for each of the remaining seasons on the contract. The total amount cannot exceed $2.5 million.

Under the terms of his original deal, Smith was to be paid $1.5 million if he were to be fired between now and April 30, 2013. But in another new wrinkle in the extension, he can't be dismissed without cause during the season, defined as the span from the date of the Gophers' first game through the date of the last. The extension also calls for a postseason review of the contract next spring.

Also, if Smith wins a Big Ten regular season championship, a Big Ten tournament championship or reaches the round of 16 or further in the NCAA tournament in any given year, his deal will be automatically extended by a year.

Smith and school officials talked for about a year and a half before finishing the extension, and one of the reasons they took their time was sensitivity toward the public perception of such a lucrative deal during a time of tight budgets, rising tuition and employee layoffs.

But no matter when this contract became public, it was going to look like a whole lot of money for a coach who has yet to win an NCAA tournament game since he came to Minnesota for the 2007-08 season with a national championship and several other awards and significant successes on his resume at Kentucky.

The Gophers finished with 23 victories, the most by the program since the 1996-97 Final Four season that was later erased by NCAA punishment, but they needed a run to the NIT championship game to get there. They went 6-12 in Big Ten play for a second straight season.

Mere modest improvements will make Smith much richer, based on bonuses either already in or added to his contract for academic or on-court achievement by the team. For example, He still gets $250,000 if the Gophers are regular season Big Ten champions, but he'll also get $250,000 if they win the Big Ten tournament. That's up from a $100,000 bonus in the original deal.

And if Minnesota wins the NCAA championship, Smith's prize is $1.5 million, up from $500,000 in the previous contract.