Contract starts at $2.3M a year

2/20/2004 - LSU Tigers

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU football coach Nick Saban has signed
a seven-year contract that guarantees him at least $2.3 million
this year, grows by about $100,000 annually -- and makes him the
highest paid college football coach in the country, according to
university officials.

The new deal was approved Thursday by a panel of the LSU
governing board and received final approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday.

Saban can earn an extra $400,000 based on postseason game
appearances and team graduation rates, similar to the incentives
included in his previous contract. Under the incentives built into
the contract, Saban could make up to $2.7 million this year and up
to $3.4 million in 2010, the final year of the contract.

The coach signed his new contract a few weeks after ending
speculation that he would leave for an NFL team after leading the
Tigers to the Bowl Championship Series title, their first national
championship in more than four decades.

"Nick Saban is the finest coach in America, and we were
committed to paying him accordingly," said LSU Athletics Director
Skip Bertman. "He has brought unprecedented success to this
university and has built a program of championship caliber both on
and off the field."

The new contract grows from the $1.6 million he earned in 2003,
which had a stipulation that required him to make at least one
dollar more than the highest-paid college coach in the country if
LSU won the national championship.

LSU beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4 for the Bowl
Championship Series national championship.

In the current year, Saban will get a $400,000 base salary,
$1.45 million for appearing in radio, TV and Internet programs and
$450,000 in "additional revenue" from the Tiger Athletic
Foundation, shoe and equipment contracts and other deals, according
to the contract released Thursday. The base salary and radio and TV
appearance money will grow over the life of the contract.

He also can earn up to $350,000 more a year depending on LSU's
postseason game appearances and up to $50,000 extra a year if the
football team is among those college teams with the highest
graduation rates.

The seven-year contract is retroactive to Jan. 1.

Both LSU and Saban can end the contract with 30 days written

Saban doesn't have to pay LSU if he leaves, but LSU must pay him
his annual minimum if they terminate his contract "without cause"
through 2008 and significantly less if they terminate the contract
in the final two years.

LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert credited Saban not only with
improving the team's record, but also with improving the academics
side of the football program, saying it was one of the finest
programs in the country.

Emmert said four years ago, LSU had 47 football players with a
grade point average under a 2.0.

"This fall we had three, and Coach Saban was really unhappy
with those three," Emmert said.