8 contract quirks for assistant football coaches

Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey raises his hand during a preseason practice on Aug. 2, 2017.

Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey raises his hand during a preseason practice on Aug. 2, 2017.

Assistant coaches might not have as much leverage in contract negotiations as their head-coaching counterparts, but there are still plenty of unique incentives and perks in their deals, too.

Here are some of the most interesting wrinkles in assistant coaches’ contracts in 2017.

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1. Checking boxes at Auburn

In addition to the terms of his contract, Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey is eligible to receive up to $150,000 in bonuses based on the team’s statistical performance, per the terms of a supplemental letter of agreement. Lindsey can earn $50,000 apiece if the Tigers score 24 points per game, average 400 yards per game and/or finish with a quarterback completion percentage of 60% against Power Five opponents. He is currently on track to hit all three benchmarks.

2. Automatic raises at Iowa

A clause in head coach Kirk Ferentz’s contract at Iowa guarantees raises for all of his assistants, strength coach, top assistant strength coach and director of football operations following any season in which the team wins seven games, plays in a bowl and finishes with a Graduation Success Rate of at least 67.5%. Clearing those benchmarks triggers an 8% raise across the board, while winning a national championship would trigger a whopping 20% raise.

3. Tickets galore

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, one of the longest-tenured coordinators in the country, receives 16 tickets to every home game. Elsewhere, the ticket perks involve other sports. At Kansas, for example, offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen receive two complimentary tickets to every men’s and women’s home basketball game.

4. A dozen ways to cash in

Appalachian State defensive coordinator Nate Woody can earn bonuses between $3,000 and $6,000 if his defense finishes among the top four in the Sun Belt in any of 12 statistical categories. He also receives $5,000 per shutout and $10,000 if the Mountaineers play in a bowl game. Woody’s bonuses are capped at $25,000 per season, and for good measure. If that cap were not in place, he would’ve received $61,000 in bonuses so far this season.

5. Kansas’ ‘play caller’

Meacham raised some eyebrows when he left his role as co-offensive coordinator at TCU to become Kansas’ offensive coordinator in January. According to a report from 247 Sports, he had lost his play-calling duties to co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie at TCU prior to his departure and disagreed with the change. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that in his deal with Kansas, Meacham is explicitly referred to as the team’s ‘play caller’ on three separate occasions.

6. National rewards

LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda are among the assistants who have bonuses for national awards, with each eligible to receive a $25,000 bonus for winning the Broyles Award or the American Football Coaches Association’s assistant coach of the year award.

7. Up to $6,000 per game

According to the terms of their contracts, UConn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and defensive coordinator Billy Crocker can earn up to $50,000 in incentives for achieving “reasonably ascertainable performance goals” set by coach Randy Edsall and athletic director David Benedict every year. Among their 2017 incentives: Up to $6,000 for winning six specific statistical matchups in an individual game. Crocker, for example, received $1,000 every time UConn’s defense won the “sack battle,” while Lashlee earned $1,000 for every game in which the Huskies scored first or led at halftime.

8. Analytics matter for Venables

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables also has performance incentives in his contract, though they’re a bit more secretive. Venables can recieve $50,000 if the Tigers rank in the top 10 in relative total defense or total defense, according to Sports Source Analytics, a subscription-only analytics company. He receives $100,000 if the Tigers finish in the top five in either category.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad. Follow Steve Berkowitz on Twitter @ByBerkowitz.

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