Arkansas, Bobby Petrino agree on deal
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino agreed to a new seven-year contract Saturday through the 2017 season.
The contract comes amid speculation that Petrino was a potential candidate for the Florida opening after Urban Meyer resigned Wednesday.
Florida hired Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as head coach Saturday night.
The deal will increase Petrino's average annual salary to $3.56 million, a raise from $2.7 million under his previous contract, which had four years remaining. It also expands his current noncompete clause to all Southeastern Conference schools rather than just the SEC West.
Petrino is 23-14 in three seasons at Arkansas, improving from 5-7 his first season to 10-2 this year. The No. 8 Razorbacks will face Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4, the school's first BCS bowl game.
"This new long-term agreement is beneficial to our program now and will continue to strengthen our program over time," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. "Coach Petrino has stabilized and elevated the success of our program."
The contract also includes an $18 million mutual buyout clause in 2011-12 should the university fire Petrino or he leave the school. The buyout is lowered by $25,000 in 2013 and falls to $14.5 million in 2014 and $10.8 million in 2015. It's $7.4 million in 2016 and $3.9 million in the final year of the deal.
"The mirror image buyout provisions included in the terms of the agreement reflect both parties' serious commitment to each other and the long-term success of Razorback Football," Long said.
It also includes a number of incentive clauses, including $300,000 for winning the BCS championship, $150,000 for appearing in the national championship game and $125,000 for appearing in a non-title BCS bowl.
"I am excited to express my commitment to the University of Arkansas," Petrino said in a statement. Chancellor [Dave] Gearhart and Jeff Long have been tremendous in terms of their support and I appreciate the positive energy the fans have demonstrated. I look forward to continuing to dedicate myself to leading the Razorback football program."
Petrino arrived at Arkansas following the 2007 season when he resigned from the Atlanta Falcons midseason. Prior to that, he was 41-9 in four seasons at Louisville, winning the 2006 Orange Bowl.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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