Inside look at coaches’ contracts

Between watching it snow and combing through the contracts of current and former football coaches all week, I’m now seeing white permanently.

Those contract comparisons will be another note for another day, but one of the most interesting things I learned was that while Mark Stoops’ new deal with UK didn’t contain any promises that the school was going to renovate the football facilities, former coach Joker Phillips’ contract did.

Of course the irony in that is that since Stoops has been hired, Kentucky has announced a $110 million renovation to start in the fall (pending various bureaucratic approvals) that will update the Nutter Training Facility as well as Commonwealth Stadium.

In Phillips’ contract, there is a clause under the “Additional Obligations of the University” that says in a vague way that UK must “enhance” the football program.

“For the benefit of enhancing and promoting the University Football Program, the University agrees to undertake and provide additional improvements to the Football Program in an effort to increase the overall success of the Football Program,” it reads.

Kentucky did make plenty of upgrades in the Phillips era, including $8 million scoreboards as well as other cosmetic bells and whistles.

In several interviews after it became clear that UK’s new renovation plans were going to go through, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart was asked if he had to promise the moon to get Stoops on board. The AD assured that he did not.

“There wasn’t anything like that,” Barnhart said. “(Stoops) was great. He said, ‘I’m going to come and we’re going to get this thing done, and if we have some other things to work with, that’s terrific.’”

There was no contractual agreement either. It was just Barnhart saying UK was doing everything it could to get it done in the near future.

“I was able to say, ‘These are the dreams,’” Barnhart said last month. “Did he come on the promise that there would be (renovations)? No.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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