It's gotten lost in the mix, what with the suddenly resurgent football team, the never-ending conference realignment talk, and the start to the basketball season, but sooner or later (more likely sooner), Geno Auriemma's going to get paid … again.
The Hartford Courant's John Altavilla writes that UConn athletic director Warde Manuel hasn't forgotten about Auriemma's new deal. Just the opposite, in fact.
“Negotiating his contract extension hasn’t been on the back burner [during conference realignment discussion],” Manuel told Altavilla Saturday. “It’s been on the front burner.”
Makes sense. Realignment may be about football, but in Auriemma and the women's team, UConn automatically makes any conference markedly better. That may not mean much financially, but in terms of credibility and cachet, it carries a lot of weight. It also doesn't hurt that Auriemma annually fields one of the country's best teams.
Altavilla writes that, either way, it won't be long before Auriemma has a five-year extension, which will keep him in Storrs through 2018. Not surprisingly, when he signs the new deal, Auriemma is expected to be the highest paid coach in women's college basketball.
“I wasn’t sure whether I’d have even have this many [contracts] at UConn,” Auriemma told Altavilla. “I didn’t know if I would have been able to go this far and to this age . Right now, if I feel the way I feel now, five more years sounds really good. Four years from now I might say, ‘That’s it, I’m done’ or a might say ‘Hey, I can do this for another five years.’ I don’t know how I will feel. Much of it depends on if we keep getting the same kind of players we’ve been getting.”
More details via the Courant:
According to Manuel, Auriemma’s new deal will begin next season. He is completing one signed in the summer of 2008 that was worth $8 million, including a base salary of $300,000 the first year. That contract called for an annual $25,000 increase. He is making about $1.8 million this season.
He also received $1.1 million for speaking and media appearances in the contract’s first year. And that increased by $75,000 annually. Auriemma also received bonuses for NCAA tournament appearances, Final Four appearances and any additional national titles.
“I love the game and I love watching it being played in a certain way,” Auriemma said. “I enjoy going to practice and watching my players execute things they weren’t sure they could and then seeing it come alive in games. But the game is hard to enjoy if you don’t enjoy the people that are around you. That’s what makes it very special for me, what makes me want to coach as long as I can.”