South Carolina loves what Dawn Staley has done for its women’s basketball program and has pledged its support for her to keep doing it.
The Gamecocks’ eighth-year coach had her contract extended and salary raised on Friday by the USC Board of Trustees, making Staley the first women’s coach in school history to earn $1 million per year and keeping her at USC through the 2020-21 season. Her salary was bumped $200,000, meaning Staley is set to make $1.1 million in 2015-16.
“One of the things that has made a difference both for me professionally and for our program is the unwavering commitment from every part of our university to our success,” Staley said in a statement. “The Board of Trustees, president (Harris) Pastides and coach (Ray) Tanner have consistently shown that they are invested in our program. Today’s particular commitment is important because the university also rewarded our assistant coaches and support staff, who are integral to what we have achieved on the court and off.”
Under the terms of the new deal, Staley’s base pay was raised from $350,000 to $550,000. Like her last contract, her media compensation ($500,000 per year beginning with the 2013-14 season) will continue to add $25,000 per season.
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Staley is assured of seven figures without bonuses throughout her contract. She would make $1.225 million in the final year.
It’s believed to be one of the richest women’s basketball contracts in the country. A database by the Dallas Morning News in February had Oklahoma’s Sherri Coale and Kentucky’s Matthew Mitchell each making $1.1 million. Ten-time national champion Geno Auriemma made $1.95 million in 2013-14, and is set to make $2.4 million in the final year of his current deal (2017-18). Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt made more than $1 million per year.
“Dawn Staley is an iconic figure, not just in women’s basketball but in all of athletics,” Tanner said in a statement. “Dawn is the type of coach that we want at the University of South Carolina, and I am glad that she is on our team.”
Staley’s buyout would be $1 million if she terminates the contract in the current year. It will drop to $800,000, then $700,000, then $400,000, then $250,000 for the final years of the deal.
Staley has turned a dormant program into a juggernaut. The Gamecocks spent 12 weeks ranked No. 1 last year and stormed to a school-record 34 wins and the program’s first NCAA Final Four berth.
Since arriving before the 2008-09 season, Staley has transformed a 10-18 team into a back-to-back SEC regular-season champion. The two-time SEC Coach of the Year has improved her SEC win total from the year before in every season, and nearly done the same with her overall win total (USC won 25 games each in 2011-12 and 2012-13).
Tanner last extended Staley’s contract after the 2012-13 season, when USC made its second straight NCAA tournament and Ohio State wanted to interview her for its vacant position. Since then, Staley has won 63 of 71 games, gone 29-3 in the SEC, signed the country’s No. 2 recruiting class and reached the Final Four.
NOTE: Each USC basketball team will play in Colonial Life Arena for at least the next 10 years. The company extended its naming-rights agreement through 2025 at a cost of $6.4 million over the life of the deal.
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Dawn Staley was rewarded for the best season in program history with a contract extension on Friday.
Length: Through the 2020-21 season (was through 2018-19)
Pay: $550,000 base salary, $550,000 media compensation (base increased from $350,000; media compensation continues to increase by $25,000 per year from a start of $500,000 in 2013-14)
Buyout: $1 million 2015-16; $800,000 2016-17; $700,000 2017-18; $400,000 2018-19; $250,000 2019-21 (was $600,000 after 2014-15, dropping by $200,000 each year through 2018-19)
SEC championship: $75,000 regular season, $50,000 tournament OR $100,000 for both
NCAA tournament: $25,000 first/second round OR $50,000 Sweet 16 OR $100,000 Elite Eight OR $200,000 Final Four OR $400,000 national championship
SEC wins in a season: $15,000 for 11 or more wins
Finishing in the Top 25: $15,000
SEC Coach of the Year: $25,000
National Coach of the Year: $25,000
Academic performance: $15,000 for 0.05 increase in team GPA from previous year; $30,000 for 0.10 increase; $45,000 for 0.15 increase
NCAA APR: $10,000 for four-year score of 970-985; $20,000 for 986-999; $30,000 for 1,000 or more