CRAWFORD | U of L, Strong agree to $3.7 million deal - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | U of L, Strong agree to $3.7 million deal

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The University of Louisville and football coach Charlie Strong have agreed on an 8-year contract extension that will guarantee the coach $3.7 million per year through the 2020 season.

The contract makes Strong the seventh-highest paid coach in college football.

Strong, coming off a Sugar Bowl championship and back-to-back shares of the Big East championship, had been courted by the University of Tennessee late last year, and reportedly weighed the offer seriously before announcing he would stay at U of L.

Strong's new contract also includes incentives, including $100,000 for reaching a BCS bowl, $50,000 for a BCS championship, $50,000 for being named Big East coach of the year, and $50,000 for being named national coach of the year, in addition to other academic and performance incentives.

The contract is structured, as many coaches' deals are, with a base salary of $1.85 million and another $1.85 million guaranteed as "media base" salary for off-the-field duties. The contract terms are back-dated to Jan. 1 of this year.

A buyout provision means that it would cost Strong (or his new employer) $5 million if he were to leave after next season or $4.375 million after the 2014 season. The buyout declines in each subsequent year he stays.

It also contains a loyalty bonus provision. If Strong completes three more seasons at U of L, he will receive a bonus of $1.25 million plus a $1 million annuity. That would boost the three-year value of the new contract to $4.45 million annually.

He would also receive a $1 million bonus if he completed the 2016 season and $200,000 after the 2017 and 2018 season.

"It provides stability," U of L athletic director Tom Jurich told reporters after the U of L athletic association's executive board approved the deal. "And you know that's something I'm always looking for."

This story will be updated.

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