Excited about where he thinks the Kentucky football program is going, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart opted to give the head coach a contract extension and raise.
Citing recruiting success and increased attendance figures, Barnhart extended Mark Stoops agreement through the 2018 season, giving the coach five years left on his deal.
We had the nations second-largest increase in attendance last season and we have had the two largest spring-game attendances in school history, Barnhart said in a release sent out by UK to announce the extension. In recruiting, Mark and his tireless assistant coaches have made an obvious impact with their first two classes and that momentum is carrying forward for 2015.
The deal, which was signed three days before the Blue-White Spring game this season, gives Stoops an additional $100,000 for the 2017-18 season and an additional $150,000 for 2018-19.
This means UK will pay Stoops $2.5 million for the 2017-18 season and $2.65 million in 2018-19.
The amendment also calls for a deletion and rewrite of the part of Stoops original contract that deals with buyout dates and percentages to reflect the extension.
Since Stoops, who went 2-10 in his first season at Kentucky, took the job, UK has begun a $110 million renovations at Commonwealth Stadium and a privately funded $45 million football complex nearby.
In Stoops first season, UK has averaged 59,472 in attendance per game, an increase of nearly 10,000 from the previous season, the second largest increase in the nation.
The two Blue-White Spring Games under Stoops have drawn crowds of more than 50,000 and 35,000, two largest in school history.
According to the USA Today salaries data base, the increase to $2.5 million in 2017-18 would still put Stoops at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference in salary behind Dan Mullens $2.65 million at Mississippi State.
Butch Jones (Tennessee), Will Muschamp (Florida) and Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) all reportedly make $3 million a year. The salary for Vanderbilts Derek Mason is not made public.
For comparisons, Bobby Petrinos new deal with Louisville was for seven years and $24.5 million ($3.5 million per season).