Skip to main content

Here's how Dana's deal breaks out at Houston

Dana Holgorsen is now officially the head coach at Houston, just the second head coach in recent memory to voluntarily leave a Power 5 job for a Group of 5 gig. But his step down in status will not represent a step down in salary.

According to documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle's Joseph Duarte, Holgorsen's deal totals $20 million over five years:

2019: $3.7 million
2020: $3.8 million
2021: $4 million
2022: $4.2 million
2023: $4.3 million

That contract keeps Holgorsen in line with the extension he signed at West Virginia in December of 2016, a deal that paid him $3.6 million in 2018 and would put him at the $4 million threshold by 2021.

In researching that contract, I found this little nugget from MetroNews West Virginia (keep in mind Tom Herman had just left for Texas at this point):

A source familiar with the situation told MetroNews this week Holgorsen never expressed interest in the Houston vacancy, unwilling to leave West Virginia for a Group of 5 program even had the Cougars ponied up a slightly higher salary. The source said no representatives from Houston had formally contacted Holgorsen, nor had other schools with vacancies, such as LSU or Oregon.

Times have indeed changed.

Holgorsen will be far and away the highest-paid coach in Group of 5 history, far surpassing the $2.6 million Memphis paid Mike Norvell this season. His assistant salary pool is also the largest in Group of 5 at $4.5 million, beating out the $2.635 million Memphis assistants made this season.

For a program with sky-high expectations, Houston is paying up for major successes and not so much for others. Holgorsen would make $100,000 for leading Houston to an American championship and $350,000 for a national title. A CFP semifinal appearance is worth $200,000, and a New Year's Six game is worth $75,000. Simply winning the American West or a non-New Year's Six bowl game? Just $10,000.

Much like his predecessor Major Applewhite, Holgorsen agreed to a major buyout in order to become Houston's head coach. He would owe $12.9 million if he took another job this calendar year, $9.1 million in 2020, $7.1 million in 2021, $2.5 million in 2022 and $1 million in 2023.

If fired without cause, Holgorsen would net 100 percent of his first three years ($11.5 million) and 60 percent of his final two ($8.5 million). But should he lead the Coogs to an American championship and a New Year's Six game, the final two years would become fully guaranteed as well.

Holgorsen would receive a $1 million bonus should Houston receive an invitation to a Power 5 conference under his watch.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.