Lady Vols' Summitt gets six year extension

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Pat Summitt is the newest millionaire coach -- and the first in women's basketball.

Tennessee raised Summitt's salary Monday to $1.125 million for next season and extended her contract six years, through the 2011-12 season.

Geno Auriemma of Connecticut, the Lady Volunteers' biggest rival, will be the next coach to make over $1 million a year. He signed a five-year contract in 2005 worth a total of $4.85 million. His salary for this coming season is $975,000 and it will increase to $1.05 million for 2007-08.

"What a statement. I'm obviously just honored to be the coach and very thankful to have this opportunity because of so many great staff members," Summitt said Monday.

"You think of all the All-Americans and Olympians and just the players that walked on years ago and helped us build this program. It's incredible what has happened."

Tennessee women's athletic director Joan Cronan called the salary a "landmark statement for women's athletics."

"The university has made a statement that success in both athletics and academics is important. Pat has had 32 successful years at Tennessee, and we're looking forward to her being here for at least six more years," she said.

Summitt, 53, leads Division I basketball coaches -- men's and women's -- with 913 career wins. Tennessee has won six national championships under Summitt, and the Lady Vols' home court is named "The Summitt" in her honor.

Her salary was $975,000 last season.

"Not only is coach Summitt the winningest coach in college basketball, but she is a tremendous ambassador for our university and our state," school president John Petersen said. "I am proud that she will continue to represent the university for many years to come."

Summitt's base salary will increase from $300,000 to $325,000. She will get $350,000 for radio and television commitments, $300,000 for endorsements and $150,000 as a public relations fee.

Over six years, the salary package will increase each year and average $1.3 million a year. The contract calls for Summitt to be paid $1.5 million in the final year.

"It's certainly a milestone in my career," Summitt said.

Summitt recalled her early days at Tennessee when she first coached the Lady Vols as a graduate assistant with a $250 monthly stipend. She bounced checks and often called her parents for money, she said.

The Lady Vols missed a chance at a 17th Final Four appearance last season when they lost to North Carolina in the regional finals. They had not missed the Final Four since 2001.

Two highlights of the past season included Summitt reaching her 900th win in January and Candace Parker becoming the first woman to dunk in an NCAA Tournament game and twice in one contest. She had two dunks against Army in the first round.

Summitt is the second-highest paid coach at Tennessee behind football coach Phillip Fulmer, who makes $2.05 million annually. Men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl got a raise earlier this year to $1.1 million from $800,000.

Summitt said more universities were paying more attention to compensation packages for men's and women's coaches.

"In women's basketball, just the fact that we're starting to generate more interest and revenue and television, you get the exposure for the university. All of those things are a plus in terms of potential compensation," she said. "That's where I see our game improving and growing."