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Sports briefs: Saban's new deal worth nearly $7 million a year

Published June 3, 2014 7:34 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL • Alabama coach Nick Saban is a mere bonus or two from knocking down another salary barrier and becoming the $7 million man.

A unanimous vote by the Alabama system trustees' compensation committee Tuesday made Saban's new 8-year, $55.2 million deal official nearly six months after the university announced the agreement.

The 62-year-old Saban will make $6.5 million in base pay and what the university describes as a "talent fee" plus a $400,000 completion bonus for each year and other incentives.



It's a seven-figure raise over the eight-year contract worth about $5.6 million annually he received in March 2012. New offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will make $2.074 million over three years.

Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said that Saban, often rumored for other college and NFL jobs, will "be our head football coach for many years to come."

"He is the best coach in the country and he's brought Alabama back to the pinnacle of college football," Battle said in a statement released by the university. "His success on the field is obviously second to none, but Coach Saban's influence on academics and all the other areas of our athletic programs are equally impressive to me."

Saban won't owe a buyout if he leaves for another head coaching job. His life insurance policy was upped from $5 million to $6 million and a $100,000 contribution will be made to his scholarship fund.

Saban is one of four coaches in The Associated Press poll era to win four national titles, joining Alabama's Bear Bryant, Southern California's John McKay and Notre Dame's Frank Leahy.

"We are honored by the commitment the University of Alabama has made to us with this new contract," Saban said in the prepared news release. "It is certainly a mutual agreement in terms of our commitment to the University of Alabama. We will continue to work hard to keep our football program among the nation's elite. My passion has always been to develop young men to their full potential as student-athletes.

"We've had great success in that area at Alabama and I'm appreciative of all the support and the resources we receive from the administration in order to make that happen."

Saban has led the Crimson Tide to three national championships and an average of 12 wins over the last six seasons. He'll make $400,000 if Alabama wins another national title with other bonuses including $125,000 for winning a Southeastern Conference championship and escalating payouts ranging from $65,000 to $125,000 depending on what bowl game the Tide makes.

He'll get $100,000 if Alabama football players' graduation rate ranks in the top 25 percent among SEC programs. Alabama's 28 graduates going into the Sugar Bowl led the nation.

Trustees also approved details on the contract for Kiffin. The former Tennessee and Southern California coach will make $680,000 salaries each of the next two years and $714,000 in the final year ending Feb. 28, 2017.

Other coaches got raises while defensive coordinator Kirby Smart had his deal extended one year through Feb. 28, 2017. Smart will make $1.385 million each of the next three years.

The non-coordinators all have two-year deals. All the coaches receive memberships to the North River Yacht Club plus performance bonuses that could rise to 18 percent of their salary with a national title.

New linebackers coach Kevin Steele will be the second-highest paid assistant, making $700,000 a year. Also a special assistant to the head coach, he is moving from a support staff role.

New defensive line coach Bo Davis will make a $450,000 salary. Receivers coach Billy Napier received a one-year extension but his $325,000 salary remains unchanged.

Other coaches with old and new salary:

—Burton Burns, associate head coach/running backs, goes from $400,000 to $428,000.

—Mario Cristobal, offensive line, $475,000 to $500,000.

—Lance Thompson, outside linebackers, $400,000 to $428,000.

—Bobby Williams, tight ends/special teams coordinator, $400,000 to $428,000.

—Scott Cochran, director of strength and conditioning, $355,000 to $395.000.

• Washington State athletic director Bill Moos was sure of one thing as he showed off the new $61 million Cougar Football Complex.

Moos said Tuesday that Cougar football takes a back seat to nobody in terms of football facilities.

The five-story building houses all football operations for the Cougars, including locker room, weight room, cafeteria and coaches' offices.

The building was made possible by the Pac-12's lucrative television contract, which will pay the Cougars an average of $20.5 million a year for 12 years.

The team will move into its new building in mid-July.

Marino says he's withdrawing from concussion suit

NFL • Dan Marino says he inadvertently became a plaintiff in a concussion lawsuit against the NFL and is withdrawing immediately.

The Hall of Fame quarterback said he doesn't suffer any effects from head injuries.

"Within the last year I authorized a claim to be filed on my behalf, just in case I needed future medical coverage to protect me and my family in the event I later suffered from the effects of head trauma," Marino said in a statement Tuesday. "I did not realize I would be automatically listed as a plaintiff. ... I have made the decision it is not necessary for me to be part of any claims or this lawsuit, and therefore I am withdrawing as a plaintiff."

Marino's withdrawal costs the litigants a high-profile plaintiff. He was by far the best-known of 15 former players who filed a lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia last week.

They joined more than 4,800 others who allege the NFL misled players about the long-term dangers of concussions. The league has denied those allegations.

"I am sympathetic to other players who are seeking relief who may have suffered head injuries," Marino, 52, said in his statement.

The NFL and the original group of players agreed on a $765 million settlement last August, but that deal was rejected by a federal judge in January.

Marino spent his entire 17-year career with the Miami Dolphins and retired as the most prolific passer in NFL history.

He worked as an analyst for CBS from 2002 to 2013 but wasn't retained for this season. He has had recent discussions with the Dolphins about a role in their front office, and a lawsuit might have complicated such a hiring.

Virginia coach Bennett gets new deal

COLLEGE BASKETBALL • Virginia men's basketball coach Tony Bennett has a new seven-year contract.

Athletic director Craig Littlepage made the announcement Tuesday. He says the contract carries through the 2020-21 season. It replaces an extension to Bennett's original contract that was scheduled to end following the 2018-19 season.

A release from the school states that the new deal increases Bennett's salary and supplemental compensation to $1.942 million.

Bennett was named the Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year this season after leading the Cavaliers to a school record-tying 30 victories and the ACC regular season and tournament championships.

The Cavaliers also were a top seed in the NCAA tournament and made their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1995. Their season ended with a 61-59 loss to Michigan State.

California Chrome on target for Belmont Stakes

HORSE RACING • Art Sherman got his first glimpse of California Chrome in action in two weeks, and the trainer liked what he saw.

Sherman arrived in New York on Monday afternoon and watched his Triple Crown contender gallop at Belmont Park on Tuesday morning. It was the first time Sherman had observed the chestnut colt since he captured the Preakness.

"I thought he looked better now than he did after the Preakness," Sherman said. "I couldn't believe how much weight he put on. Going on the Triple Crown trail, it's kind of rough. He's an amazing horse."

California Chrome will try for the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 on Saturday in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

The flashy 3-year-old with four white feet will be the heavy favorite in the 1½-mile Belmont, known as the "Test of the Champion" for its history of crushing Triple Crown dreams.

Only 11 horses have swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in the same year. There have been 11 Triple tries since Affirmed, the most recent being Big Brown in 2008. He won the first two legs, and then was eased by jockey Kent Desormeaux in the Belmont.

I'll Have Another won the first two legs in 2012, but was scratched on Belmont eve with a tendon injury that ended his career.

After the Preakness, Sherman, 77, returned to his stable in Southern California. He sent California Chrome to New York in the care of Alan Sherman, his son and assistant trainer. The Belmont will be the colt's third demanding race in a short five-week span.

"He's doing outstanding," Alan Sherman said. "I couldn't ask for anything more right now. I'm just enjoying the ride he's put us on."

The full California Chrome rooting section will be on hand Saturday. Perry Martin, co-owner and breeder of the colt with Steve Coburn, did not attend the Preakness. He was upset with treatment he received by Churchill Downs at the Derby.

Martin is not going to miss this chance to be part of history.

"Perry and his wife will get here late Wednesday night," Coburn said. "He'll probably lay real low until the day of the race. Him and his family are pretty reserved. That's why he gets out of town real quick so I can do all the talking."

Coburn and his wife, Carolyn, from northern Nevada are enjoying their first trip to New York.

"It was my first time in Kentucky, my first time in Maryland and now my first time in New York," Coburn said. "Carolyn would like to come back here and see all this when we got more time. We've kind of been rushed from here to there and back again."

For Art Sherman, it is a homecoming for the Brooklyn native.

"I haven't been back to Williamsburg in many years," Sherman said. "It's changed quite a bit. I probably can't afford Williamsburg now."

The Belmont draw takes place Wednesday morning. It's not fraught with as much drama as the Derby, where breaking from an extreme inside or outside post in a 19- or 20-horse field can quickly take a horse out of contention.

The Belmont, the longest of the Triple Crown races, is contested over a track with wide sweeping turns. It gives jockeys plenty of time to sort out early positions.

The Belmont lost a potential runner on Tuesday when trainer Linda Rice withdrew Kid Cruz from consideration. He ran eighth in the Preakness, 16 lengths behind California Chrome.

Kid Cruz might try an easier spot on the Belmont undercard, the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes at 1 1-16 miles.

The likely challengers for California Chrome include Commanding Curve, Commissioner, General a Rod, Matterhorn, Matuszak, Medal Count, Ride On Curlin, Samraat, Social Inclusion, Tonalist and Wicked Strong.

 

 

 

 

 

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