Coach Pelini rewarded with extension

Updated: April 1, 2009, 10:32 AM ET
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has signed a one-year contract extension that will boost his yearly contract to $1.851 million per season.

The new deal makes Pelini the sixth-highest paid coach in the Big 12. It will run through Feb. 28, 2014, adding an additional year to his original contract.

Pelini previously was paid $1.1 million on his initial contract. He directed the Cornhuskers to a share of the Big 12 North title last season and defeated Clemson in the Gator Bowl.

His original contract promised an $800,000 bonus if the Cornhuskers won the national championship. The new contract includes a $500,000 bonus for the national title.

The new contract also gives him a $100,000 bonus for going to a non-Bowl Championship Series game. Pelini got no bonus for last season's Gator Bowl game. The team finished 9-4.

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said the improvement in the direction of the Nebraska program was the prime reason for the contract extension.

"When you compare Bo's performance and experience with other coaches, he was certainly deserving a significant salary increase," Osborne said in a prepared statement. "We made good progress in one year under Bo's leadership and we are confident he has our program moving in the right direction."

Osborne also announced pay increases for Nebraska's nine full-time assistant coaches. The raises push Nebraska's combined yearly salaries for its assistants to just less than $2 million -- sixth in the Big 12.

Osborne said Monday during a news conference that when he became head coach in 1973, he made $25,000 a year and never imagined the salary would grow so high. But, he added, Pelini deserves a raise for shoring up the football program, which has to provide 85 percent of the revenues brought in by Nebraska sports.

"We're taking a little bit of a leap of faith that everyone will renew their season tickets this year," he said. "We think they will, of course the economy is a little more troubled."

All home games at Memorial Stadium since 1962 have sold out.

Osborne also said that Pelini didn't ask to have his contract restructured. "Bo is not a guy who's driven by money," he said.

Pelini said he was happy to receive the salary hike.

"I'm very appreciative of the commitment that Coach Osborne and our administration have made to our football program and our coaching staff," Pelini said. "Working for Coach Osborne is a great situation, and as I said when I was hired, it is an honor to be here at Nebraska as the head coach. I hope to be in this position for a long time and help get this program back to the top of college football."

Tim Griffin covers college football for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.