Auriemma in Line for New Contract

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With the Olympics in the rear view, the college basketball season more than a month off, and the Huskies' football regular-season opener hours away, we haven't  said much about Geno Auriemma. The gold-medal-winning coach and seven-time NCAA champion could be in line for a raise soon. The Hartford Courant's John Altavilla writes that Auriemma is entering the final year of a five-year, $8 million contract he signed in 2008, typically the time when coach and university begin the renegotiation process.

The terms of Auriemma's current deal, via Altavilla:

…His base salary was due to increase by $25,000 annually throughout the contract, which means he will make approximately $425,000 this season. (He) received $1.1 million in addition to his base salary for speaking and media appearances in the contract’s first year. That increased by $75,000 annually throughout the contract.

Auriemma also gets bonuses for NCAA tournament appearances, Final Four appearances [four since the last deal began] and any additional national titles [two more]. (He) will make about $1.8 million this year, the contract’s final year.

Auriemma's last contract surpassed in value the one then-Tennessee's coach Pat Summitt signed in '06, making him college's highest paid women's coach. But that was with athletic director Jeff Hathaway, who left UConn last summer. Auriemma's next contract will be the first major negotiation for Hathaway's replacement, Warde Manuel, who has been up to every other task he's faced in his brief tenure. But this is different than dealing with NCAA sanctions that will keep the men's team out of the 2013 postseason, or addressing the notion that Jim Calhoun will have a coach in waiting when he retires. This is about money -- a lot of it -- and Auriemma's importance to the university, which can't be understated.

Auriemma built the nation's best basketball program from the ground up, his former players populate the WNBA, his current roster is chocked full of high school All-Americans, and he's been wildly successful on the international stage. Plus, as Altavilla notes, "Auriemma’s relationships have helped attract, in some part, the money that has been donated to build the new basketball training facility on campus."

It's not a stretch to think that Auriemma will get paid. It's just a matter of how much.

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