The wins keep piling up this spring for Adia Barnes.
Arizona announced Tuesday that it will sign Barnes to a new five-year contract worth $5.85 million, just weeks after announcing a raise and extension for the star women’s basketball coach.
The UA said in a news release Tuesday that it is changing Barnes’ “base salary compensation” but not her incentive structure, though it’s unclear if the money is split evenly over five years or if the contract is back-loaded. The terms must still be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.
The new pay structure is a renegotiation of a contract extension that was agreed to in the days before the NCAA Tournament began in March. Under that deal, Barnes agreed to be paid $3.345 million over five seasons, starting with a salary of $580,000 in 2021-22.
“As this past season made perfectly clear, Arizona Women’s Basketball has joined the nation’s elite under Coach Barnes’ leadership and will remain there for a long time to come,” UA athletic director Dave Heeke said in a news release. “This new contract demonstrates our continued commitment to our women’s basketball program, and to Adia, who has revitalized our program and brought the excitement and energy to a whole new level. We are thrilled that she will be with us for years to come, and we have no doubt that the young women in her program will continue to proudly represent our university, athletics department and community.”
Barnes led the Wildcats to their first-ever Final Four and an appearance in this year’s national championship game, beating highly touted UConn along the way. Arizona fell to Stanford in the championship game, 54-53, the season ending when Aari McDonald’s would-be game-winning shot rimmed out.
Since then, Barnes had been linked to major job openings.
Baylor turned its attention to Barnes after coach Kim Mulkey left for LSU. Athletic director Mack Rhoades, a Rincon High School and UA grad, courted Barnes for the job, prompting her new deal with the Wildcats.
Barnes and Arizona agreed to the new salary terms late last week. Baylor hired Atlanta Dream coach Nicki Collen on Monday.
Barnes returned to her alma mater in April of 2016 as a first-time head coach and was challenged with turning around a long dormant-program.
It didn’t take long: She recruited top players and transfers, including McDonald, Sam Thomas and Cate Reese. In Barnes’ third season, the Wildcats won the WNIT Championship. They were on track to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament last year before COVID-19 canceled the event. This year’s NCAA Tournament run put the Wildcats — and Barnes — on the national radar.
Barnes often says that she picked Arizona twice — once as a player, and again when she was hired as the head coach.
Tuesday, Arizona picked her for the long-term.
“I want to thank President Robbins, Athletics Director Dave Heeke and the senior executive staff for their commitment and support of Arizona Women’s Basketball,” Barnes said. “It means the world to me that they trust me to lead this incredible program and are invested in our success. I am honored to coach at my alma mater and represent Tucson, a city where it all began for me. This contract is a commitment to our sport, Arizona Women’s Basketball, and this University. It is my responsibility to honor that commitment with a relentless pursuit of a national championship, and I can’t wait until we pack McKale (Center) again with the best fans in the country.”