USC athletics director Ray Tanner made good on his promise to get women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley an appropriate raise and extension following another successful season.
USC’s board of trustees approved a reworked contract for Staley on Wednesday. The new deal extends her contract through March 31, 2019.
Entering her sixth season in the fall, Staley will earn a total compensation of $850,000, a raise of $125,000. She will earn an annual base salary of $350,000 (up from $300,000) and an annual media compensation package worth $500,000 (up from $425,000) with $25,000 escalations each year of the contract.
“I want to thank Ray Tanner, President (Harris) Pastides and the Board of Trustees for this contract extension,” Staley said in a statement released by the university. “Our goal is to build a national championship-caliber program that represents the University of South Carolina with distinction both on and off the court and in the classroom. I believe we have set the foundation for that success here and I am excited to be a part of building on that for years to come.”
If Staley remains throughout the life of the contract, she will earn $975,000 in the 2018-2019 season, including $250,000 in tax-deferred benefits.
The contract makes Staley one of the highest-paid women’s basketball coaches in the SEC. Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell’s deal — approved last spring — pays him $950,000 this year. Longtime Texas A&M coach Gary Blair made $860,000 this past year in the first season of a deal that was reworked following the Aggies’ Final Four appearance in 2012.
LSU coach Nikki Caldwell receives an annual total compensation of $700,000, but can earn as much as $1.2 million through performance bonuses.
USC will set aside an annual $50,000 tax-deferred payment payable to Staley if she stays at the school through the end of the contract, in all, an additional $250,000.
The school dramatically raised Staley’s buyout clauses. Before the extension, if Staley left USC she would have owed $200,000. During the first year of the reworked deal, her buyout escalates to $800,000 and drops $200,000 per year until it reaches $200,000 during the final three years.
The Gamecocks won 25 games for the second consecutive season, reaching the round of 32 this past month in the NCAA tournament. She owns a 92-66 record at USC and a 264-146 overall mark after 13 years as a head coach.
Three seniors graduated from this year’s team — Ieasia Walker, Ashley Bruner and Sancheon White — but the Gamecocks return a talented rising sophomore class and will welcome highly touted Dutch Fork post player Alaina Coates, a 6-foot-4 McDonald’s All-American and the South Carolina player of the year.
Women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith’s contract also was modified. In a new deal that runs through the 2016 season, Smith will earn $120,00 per year.
“The contract extensions that coach Staley and coach Smith have been awarded are representative of the successes that they have achieved at South Carolina,” Tanner said in the same statement. “Our athletics department strives to be competitive in all of our programs and compete for SEC and national championships. I believe Dawn and Shelley will continue to lead their programs in that direction.”
STALEY’S NEW DEAL
USC women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley received a three-year contract extension and a $125,000 raise following the Gamecocks’ 25-8 campaign in 2012-13.
Base pay: Increases from $300,000 to $350,000
Media compensation: Increases from $425,000 to $500,000 with $25,000 raises in each year of the contract until she earns $625,000 in 2018-19
Compensation plan: A sum of $50,000 will be contributed annually to a tax-deferred compensation plan on March 31 of each year for the life of the contract. She will receive the benefits only if she remains the head coach through March 31, 2019.
Buyout: Increases from $200,000 to $800,000 and decreases by $200,000 each year until it reaches $200,000 on April 1, 2016. It remains at $200,000 for the remainder of the contract. She also will waive her rights to receive any benefits from the tax-deferred compensation plan.