Closer look at the contracts of Cards, Cats coaches

Charlie Strong’s new, eight-year contract extension with Louisville, which guarantees him $3.7 million annually, also includes several lucrative performance incentives worth a little more than $583,000 should he hit some major milestones this season.

One loss to Kentucky could hurt his chances at several of those big-ticket incentives.

For instance, if Louisville remains a top 25 team at the end of the season, he gets $25,000 or maintains its current top 10 ranking, he gets $50,0000.

If the Cardinals participate in the BCS national championship game, Strong will get $150,000, with the amount increasing to $200,000 should Louisville win the title.

Participation in any BCS bowl nets Strong an additional $100,000.

He receives a bonus of $50,000 for being named American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and the same for being tabbed National Coach of the Year.

Strong’s new deal, which he agreed to the day before Louisville upset Florida 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl, places him seventh among Division I coaches. His contract expires in 2020.

Just for comparison sake, Mark Stoops’ deal with UK will pay him roughly $2 million this season with his own sets of incentive clauses.

As UK continues its rebuilding efforts, per his contract, the head coach will receive $100,000 for each Southeastern Conference victory starting with the second SEC win of each season. He also would get an additional $100,000 for more than five SEC victories in a season.

For a national title win or a Southeastern Conference championship, Stoops receives a $200,000 bonus. He also would receive an added $200,000 for a BCS bowl victory.

A non-BCS bowl game with receipts of more than $2 million nets Stoops $125,000.

For league Coach of the Year, Stoops would earn $50,000 and for national Coach of the Year, $75,000.

  • As a side note, both coaches’ contracts contain other perks. Per his contract, Stoops receives 16 football tickets and can request use of a 14-seat box at Commonwealth Stadium. He also gets four men’s home basketball tickets. Strong receives 18 football tickets per game and eight tickets to each Louisville home basketball game.

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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