FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long is looking for the program’s next football coach. He’s doing so with a lucrative new contract.
Arkansas has agreed in principle to a contract extension and raise for Long, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request Friday.
Long will receive a raise that will bump his annual salary to $900,000 beginning July 1, 2013 with a chance for $300,000 more in incentives. The deal — which must be approved by the university’s board of trustees — spans through June 30, 2017 and includes a $1 million buyout for the first two years of the deal.
The term sheet was signed on Oct. 23 by Long, who will earn $800,000 this year under the new terms of his Arkansas contract. The timing of the decision makes sense with the athletic director searching for a new football coach.
The new deal – which also shows the university would owe Long $1 million annually through the tenure of the contract if he is terminated for convenience — is a handy tool to show prospective football coaches the athletic director will remain with the Razorbacks for a few years. Long has attracted interest from other schools seeking athletic directors, according to Arkansas chancellor David Gearhart.
“I am very appreciative of your outstanding leadership of the Athletics Department, particularly during very challenging times, and your commitment to the University of Arkansas,” Gearhart wrote in the term sheet to Long. “I recognize that your strong leadership of our Athletic Department has attracted interest from other institutions and that the buy-out provision of your current Employment Agreement will end shortly after the conclusion of the current academic year.”
Long will receive $500,000 annually in base pay from the university and $250,000 more from the Razorback Foundation as part of his personal services agreement.
The new contract also stipulates an additional $150,000 from 2013-14 to 2015-16 from the Razorback Foundation. It increases to $200,000 in 2016-17. The payment will be made to Long on the last day of each contract year (June 30) and Long must still be employed by the university on that date to receive the lump sum.
Long can earn up to $300,000 more according to the extraordinary achievements clause in his current contract, which will not change in the amendment.
If Long doesn’t meet the extraordinary achievements clause, he can still earn up to $250,000 under amended special achievement incentives, which requires him to meet four of seven identified performance objectives. He would earn $1875,000 for achieving three of seven identified performance objectives.
Long will be able to earn up to $1.2 million under the terms of his deal through 2015-16, and up to $1.25 million in 2016-17.
Arkansas is protected, financially, if Long were to leave for another job. He would be obligated to pay the school $1 million if he left before June 30, 2014. The amount would drop after that to $500,000 (2015), $250,000 (2016) and $100,000 (2017).
Long has been in charge of the Arkansas athletic department since 2007, taking over for Frank Broyles. Only nine other athletic directors earned more than $900,000 annually, according to a 2011 salary survey by USA Today.
“Thank you for your dedication and leadership in the Athletic Department and the University,” Gearhart wrote to Long in the term sheet.