MORGANTOWN - New West Virginia offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen is guaranteed $10.675 million over the life of his six-year contract, a figure that could rise to as much as $14.275 million with incentives.
The term sheet for his employment, which became public this week, also includes a $2 million buyout which decreases twice over the life of the contract, as well as a provision that allows Holgorsen to walk away from the deal should the pending NCAA investigation into the program result in significant sanctions.
Holgorsen was hired in December as WVU's offensive coordinator for the 2011 season and will be promoted to head coach the following year. He could become the head coach as soon as a 2011 bowl game, given that the amended contract signed by current head coach Bill Stewart gives the university the option to release him from those duties following the 2011 regular season.
Holgorsen's contract will pay him $750,000 in 2011 as offensive coordinator, then $1.4 million his first year as head coach in 2012. His pay increases by $250,000 each year through the 2016 season, which would bring his salary in the final year of the contract to $2.4 million.
Holgorsen also received $50,000 to sign the term sheet in December and will be paid a $75,000 retention bonus each year for a total of $10.675 million.
He also stands to make millions more over the life of the contract with incentives. Although individually the incentives are worth as much as $800,000 a year, the contract puts a $600,000 ceiling on those incentives each year.
The contract language seems to indicate that the incentives are available to Holgorsen beginning in 2011, even while he is the offensive coordinator. So if he were to max out the incentives each of the six years of the contract - one as coordinator and five as head coach - it would mean an extra $3.6 million.
The term sheet - a more formal contract will be written "in the immediate future,'' according to the term sheet - also spells out that Holgorsen, during his initial season as offensive coordinator, "shall have managerial authority over the offense, including, but not limited to, offensive play calling, offensive personnel decisions [and] hiring and firing of offensive assistant coaches.''
He was also allocated $1 million to pay his four offensive assistant coaches. Three of those coaches were hired by Holgorsen - Robert Gillespie, Bill Bedenbaugh and Shannon Dawson. He also retained one offensive assistant from last season, Lonnie Galloway. Gillespie and Bedenbaugh are being paid $250,000 and Dawson $200,000. Galloway's salary last season was $200,000.
Gillespie is working under a three-year contract, the others two years.
The buyout clause in the term sheet allows for Holgorsen to walk away from the deal "for convenience" by paying the university $2 million if he leaves on or before Dec. 8, 2012, which would be the end of his first regular season as head coach. If he leaves in the two years following that he would owe the school $1.5 million. And if he walks away after the 2014 season the buyout is reduced to $1 million.
But the term sheet also stipulates that if the school receives NCAA sanctions for anything that occurred prior to his arrival, he can walk away from the deal if those sanctions include the loss of 20 or more scholarships over a two-year period or two or more seasons of post-season bowl bans.
The university is currently involved in an NCAA investigation into the program, but any sanctions are expected to be far less than those spelled out in Holgorsen's term sheet.
If Holgorsen is fired by WVU "for convenience," the school would owe him whatever remains of his salary for the rest of the contract. The same is the case if Holgorsen leaves "for cause.'' In the case of Holgorsen being fired for cause, the school would owe him nothing beyond what he had earned to that point. That "for cause'' language is not spelled out in the term sheet, but it will certainly include NCAA violations and standard ethics clauses.