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Regents approve raise, extension for Arizona women's basketball coach Adia Barnes
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Regents approve raise, extension for Arizona women's basketball coach Adia Barnes

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Arizona v Stanford

Arizona Wildcats head coach Adia Barnes calls out to her team during a game against the Stanford Cardinal at the McKale Center, on Jan. 1, 2021.

The Arizona Board of Regents unanimously approved a contract extension that will give UA women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes an effective 34% raise to $580,000 next season.

Barnes’ reworked five-year contract runs through 2025-26, with Barnes receiving higher salaries every season up to $770,000 in the final year.

"It's just been an amazing turnaround of our women's basketball program over the last five years," UA athletic director Dave Heeke said while presenting the proposed contract via Zoom. There's been "competitive growth, excellence of our student-athletes across the board academically, and our community engagement.

"The growth of the program has truly been remarkable. It is now really, truly considered among the nation's best."

There was no discussion about whether or not to approve the contract, though Regents Karrin Taylor Robson and Lyndel Manson both complimented Barnes.

"Dave, you have a lot to be proud of," Robson said. "I think there's now a lot more fans of the University of Arizona's women's basketball program, and Coach Barnes really represents the university well. I couldn't be more proud and more supportive of this agenda item."

Those new fans apparently include Manson.

"I would like to congratulate Coach Barnes on her successes both on and off the court," Manson said. "And I will admit that this was the very first NCAA women's basketball games that I ever watched and I watched two of them and they were spectacular. So thank you for introducing me to that."

While leading the Wildcats all the way to the NCAA title game loss to Stanford, Barnes earned $407,500 plus an annual retention bonus of $25,000 and $125,000 in bonuses for the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament success.

However, that amount will be reduced by a 20% pay cut of base salary ($81,500) since all UA coaches agreed to reductions paralleling the university’s pandemic-prompted pay reduction plan in 2020-21.

Taking over a struggling program in 2016, Barnes went 20-40 over her first two seasons. She has since gone 69-26, including winning a WNIT title in 2018-19 and advancing to the national championship game this season. Arizona was also expected to be a high seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament before it was canceled because of COVID-19.

Barnes was hired in 2016 for a salary of $235,000. She received a new contract in 2019-20 after the Wildcats won the WNIT. That deal included a $407,500 salary plus retention bonuses that increased by $25,000 every season, meaning she effectively made $432,500 this season.

Terms of Barnes’ new contract take out the retention bonuses, replacing them with flat raises every season. She's scheduled to make $580,000 in 2021-22, $620,000 in 2022-23, $650,000 in 2023-24, $725,000 in 2024-25 and to $770,000 in 2025-26.

Barnes’ performance and academic incentives remain unchanged from the original contract approved in 2019.

Under those terms, Barnes will be paid $125,000 for NCAA Tournament bonuses in 2020-21, including $40,000 for the Wildcats’ Final Four appearance, plus a total of $85,000 for making the tournament, the second round and the Sweet 16. She would have made an extra $50,000 if the Wildcats had beaten Stanford for the title.

Barnes also earned a $10,000 bonus because the Wildcats finished in the Top 10; they are No. 2 in the final coaches’ poll. They finished No. 11 in the AP Top 25, but the AP does not publish a poll after the NCAA Tournament.

The contract also makes it tougher, at least initially, for another team to hire Barnes away. She would have to pay $1 million if she leaves Arizona willingly in 2021-22 and $700,000 if she does so in 2022-23. But the buyout drops to just $300,000 in 2023-24, $100,000 in 2024-25 and zero in the final year of her contract.


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