What Ray Tanner said about new football contracts
South Carolina’s success on the football field paid off for Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp and his staff on Friday.
Muschamp, who led South Carolina to a 9-4 record in his second season, received a healthy salary increase and a contract extension during a morning meeting of the USC Board of Trustees. Muschamp’s new deal, which was approved unanimously, calls for a $4.2 million salary in 2018, up from the $3.1 million he made annually, and includes a $200,000 increase every year through the life of the six-year deal. If Muschamp completes the contract under its current terms, he will make $5.2 million in the 2023 season.
“We’d like to think that six years is just the beginning of how long he’ll be here,” athletics director Ray Tanner said, “but if he has opportunities because he’s winning 11 or 12 games a year, we would all understand the position it puts him in. I believe from my relationship with coach Muschamp and Carol and the boys that they are very comfortable here. A lot of good things have happened.”
Muschamp was the nation’s 37th-highest paid coach in 2017 and will jump to No. 17 on the list, pending changes to other contracts. He becomes the fifth-highest paid coach in the SEC, behind Alabama’s Nick Saban ($11.1 million), Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($7.5 million), Auburn’s Gus Malzahn ($7 million) and Florida’s Dan Mullen ($6 million).
“I think what we’ve done shows how strongly we are committed to our people and our program,” Tanner said. “I love the job coach Muschamp has done here, the attention to detail, the culture. The players believe in him. I’m grateful to be where we are today and, certainly, grateful to coach Muschamp and his staff.”
Muschamp is 15-11 in two years at South Carolina and has presided over the first back-to-back, three-win improvements in school history. He took over following Steve Spurrier’s final season, which ended with a 3-9 record. This season marked just the seventh time a USC team has won more than eight games.
“It’s very difficult in the sport of football, compared to other sports, to make a quick turnaround,” Tanner said. “To get to nine wins, yes I’m very impressed. To be where we ended up this year was a great place to be in 24 months.”
Muschamp will be eligible for a maximum of $1.4 million in incentives each year, including bonuses for winning the national championship ($500,000), playing in the national championship game ($400,000), winning the SEC championship ($250,000), playing in the SEC championship game ($150,000) and maintaining a multi-year APR of 975 or higher ($100,000).
“It’s important that we are committed at the very highest level we can be,” Tanner said. “We are committed to doing the things we need to do. I feel like what we have done shows how strongly we are committed to our people and our program.”
If South Carolina fires Muschamp without cause, it will owe him 75 percent of the remaining value of his contract. If Muschamp leaves next year, he will owe the school $4 million, with that number decreasing through the duration of the contract.
“I want to thank (USC president Harris) Pastides, coach Tanner and the board for continuing to support our program and invest in us and continuing to move this program forward,” Muschamp said. “We’re excited about where we are, but we’re more excited about our future.”
Muschamp’s assistants also received raises. The Gamecocks coaching staff had been the nation’s 17th-highest paid staff with a total compensation of $4 million annually. The figure increased to $5.1 million with Friday’s approval by the board. That would make the staff the nation’s fifth-highest paid, pending other increases across the country.
Defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson became the first assistant coach in school history to top $1 million in annual salary. Robinson received a three-year deal worth $1.2 million annually. All the other USC assistants received two-year deals. Bryan McClendon, who was promoted from wide receivers coach to offensive coordinator, will make $650,000 annually, up from $500,000 last season. Newly hired quarterbacks coach Dan Werner will be paid $500,000 per year.
The remaining assistants salaries were: offensive line coach Eric Wolford ($600,000, up from $500,000), defensive line coach Lance Thompson ($550,000, up from $500,000), linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler ($475,000, up from $350,000), running backs coach Bobby Bentley ($400,000, up from $300,000), linebackers coach Mike Peterson ($300,000, up from $200,000), tight ends coach Pat Washington ($300,000, up from $200,000). Newly hired 10th assistant coach Kyle Krantz will make $125,000 annually. Krantz will help Hutzler with special teams coaching and also will coach the team’s nickel position and Sam linebackers.
Strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman received a pay increase from $400,000 annually to $425,000.