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Horn locked up through 2015; extension OK'd for Spurrier

It took all of one year for USC athletics director Eric Hyman to be convinced that men's basketball coach Darrin Horn deserved a raise.

Monday, Horn was approved for a two-year extension to 2015 and a $300,000 raise by the USC board of trustees.

The deal also altered the buyout provisions, making it harder for either side to walk away.

"If you look at what he accomplished last year, not only on the court but in the classroom, and you look at our marketplace in the Southeastern Conference ... his accomplishments - and (school president Harris) Pastides felt the same way - merited the adjustment we made in his contract," Hyman said.

The board also approved a one-year extension for football coach Steve Spurrier that will take him through the 2013 season. The deal did not include a raise.

Spurrier, who is 35-27 in five seasons at USC, told Hyman it was important to have four years on his contract for recruiting purposes. Hyman said he might consider a raise for Spurrier in the future.

Spurrier ranks in the bottom third of SEC coaches with $1.75 million in guaranteed annual compensation. Spurrier, who turns 65 in April, will receive a $1 million longevity bonus if he remains at USC through the 2012 season.

The timing of Horn's extension - one month into his second season - might seem strange, but Hyman said it took a while to put together the deal and get it to the board of trustees.

Horn went 21-10 in his first season, sharing the SEC East championship with Tennessee and earning an NIT invitation, after consecutive losing seasons under coach Dave Odom. The Gamecocks are 6-2 this season, with key starters Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes out indefinitely with injuries.

"I appreciate the show of support for our program from the board, Dr. Pastides and Eric Hyman," Horn said in a statement. "I'm excited about the remainder of this season and the future of Gamecock basketball. I look forward to continuing to build upon the foundation we've laid for this program."

Horn will earn base compensation of $1.1 million. His personal-services compensation (promotional and fundraising activities, TV and radio services, endorsements) will increase $100,000 each of the next three years.

A unique clause in Horn's contract was also reworked. Under his original contract, Horn received $50,000 for each yearly increase of 1,000 full-pay season tickets sold. That was changed to make it a $50,000 bonus for each yearly increase in equivalent revenue ($195,000) of 1,000 full-pay season-tickets sold. Basically, the bonus is now based on revenue generated from all ticket sales, not just season-ticket sales.

Hyman said the change should make it easier for Horn to earn the incentive.

The new buyout provisions made it clear neither side plans to end the arrangement anytime soon.

If USC fires Horn, the coach would receive $800,000 for each full year remaining on the contract, as well as the pro rated amount of any uncompleted year. (The contract is on an April-March cycle.)

If Horn leaves before April of 2010, he would owe the school $2.5 million, doubling the amount under his original deal. In subsequent years, he would owe $2 million, $1.25 million and $750,000, while the original contract was $800,000, $600,000 and $500,000.

Hyman said the buyout numbers were based on "industry standards."

The recent increase in coaching salaries apparently had a role in Horn's new deal. Three SEC programs made hires during the offseason, with each coach receiving well more than what Horn was earning under his original deal: Kentucky's John Calipari ($3.9 million), Alabama's Anthony Grant ($1.8 million) and Georgia's Mark Fox ($1.3 million).

"What you do is you look at the marketplace. And you look at the industry standard, and you look at where we are in the Southeastern Conference," Hyman said. "Those factors were based into the final recommendations."

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