If basketball coach Sean Miller or football coach Rich Rodriguez lead their Arizona Wildcat teams to a national championship someday, their annual market value may well exceed the $6 million bonus a booster is proposing to offer them.
In other words, somebody else might offer even more money to them if they leave before their eight-year proposed retention bonuses kick in.
But the gesture, which will be submitted for Arizona Board of Regents approval today, is another positive sign Miller said he has become used to at Arizona.
“The support that my family has received, really from the first day we came to Tucson, has been spectacular,” Miller said. “We’re excited to be here, and hopefully here for the long term.”
Miller said he could not speak specifically about the retention plan or his one-year contract extensions because they have not been approved yet. But Miller, Rodriguez and UA athletic director Greg Byrne will each receive multimillion stock allocations under the retention plan and also receive extensions through 2018-19, if the Regents approve them today.
Byrne also said he would not comment on either the retention plan or contracts, while messages left for the booster offering the retention plan have not been returned.
In general, Miller said, Arizona has been fortunate to receive major booster support for projects that include the current renovations to McKale Center.
In today’s major college athletics, he indicated, that’s a must.
“We have an incredible following, passionate fans — and that’s kind of one piece,” Miller said. “But we’ve also had families, single people, step up not only for men’s basketball but for our athletic department, to put us in a good place in this competitive environment that we’re in.
“Whether you like how it’s gone or not, to compete for national championships and be on this great stage in the Pac-12, there are things that are different now than when I first came here five years ago. If you go back 10 years ago, it’s almost like a completely different deal. But we’re very fortunate to have that group of people who have given so much to us.”
The Regents were expected to discuss the proposed changes to the key UA athletic staffers in their private sessions on Thursday, then vote on them publicly this morning.
Among other proposed changes, Byrne’s salary would increase from $500,000 to $625,000. Rodriguez’s would go from $1.33 million to $1.5 million, and Miller would receive an extra $100,000 to his base package in 2018-19.
For the 2013-14 academic year, counting all incentives and outside income, Miller earned a total of $2.64 million. Rodriguez made $2.29 million, and Byrne earned $590,526.
All three already have retention bonuses through UA: Miller will receive $2.1 million if he stays through 2015-16, and Byrne and Rodriguez will receive $500,000 if they stay through 2016.