Sark made some very aggressive hires this off-season, bringing in Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon from Tennessee, Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau from Cal and Keith Heyward from Oregon State. UW definitely stepped up to the plate in terms of compensation packages for these guys; but we learned today, compliments of Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, that UW definitely protected themselves in the contracts as well.
Condotta's got the details; but in short, if any of these guys leave the program to go work for another Pac-12 team, other than as a head coach, UW will be on the receiving end of a large check. In Wilcox's case, if he leaves prior to December 31, 2014 (other than as detailed above) he'll owe UW $1 million. Kiesau would owe $500,000. Lupoi's contract says that if he leaves at any time prior to the completion of his contract (Feb. 6, 2015) he would owe the University payment equal to all remaining compensation due under the agreement.
On our recent Pac-12 tour we had the opportunity to meet with UW athletic director Scott Woodward. During our conversations he spoke extremely highly of several of the assistants on this staff. Woodward believes that a couple of these guys will be head coaches in the future. It's nice to see that their contracts don't contain any sort of penalty in the event that they have that kind of opportunity.
When you step back and think about it, the provisions that UW included make sense. They stepped up and met the market in terms of compensation and security (multi-year contracts) for the coaches. In the event one of them has the opportunity to become a head coach, that's a win-win situation and there is no issue. However, if one of these guys decides they want to move on, into a competing program at a position other than head coach, then the University will realize some financial relief as they have to go out and invest in finding a replacement.
Condotta's research also noted that UW paid the $75,000 buyout that Sirmon owed to Tennessee.