When Les Miles lost offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey after just a handful of weeks on the job to become the head coach at Troy, he was left with the challenge of making a second offensive coordinator hire before February’s National Signing Day.
That process led Miles to bring in veteran college assistant and coordinator Les Koenning, who has held the offensive coordinator title at a number of programs dating back to 1998, starting at Duke, and eventually moving on to Houston, TCU, Alabama, Texas A&M, South Alabama, Mississippi State, and UAB as recently as 2017. At UAB, despite breaking a number of offensive records in his two seasons there, Koenning learned that his contract wasn’t going to be renewed in early January of 2018.
For the 2018 season, Koenning landed at Southern Miss coaching the running backs, where he made $100,000 for the season, according to the USA Today Salary Database.
According to the Journal-World, Koenning is getting quite the pay bump to be the Jayhawks offensive coordinator. The report states that Koenning has a five-year deal that will pay him $500,000 annually, effectively quintupling his salary from last season.
During the course of the off season, lots of coaches get pay bumps with new positions and responsibilities, but that kind of bump is substantial. One other newly hired coordinator that will likely be seeing a similar bump is new Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson, who is coming to Stillwater from the FCS ranks and Princeton.
The report adds that the $500,000 salary for Koenning is the same that Lindsey was set to make, with some very different details in Koenning’s deal. For example, only the first two years of his deal are guaranteed, and Koenning could leave for an FBS head coaching opportunity after November 15 and from that point on, he would owe KU nothing. In order to get to years three, four, and five of his deal, KU would have to exercise the option by informing Koenning by December 5th of the preceding year.
Also, if Koenning were to take another job in athletics or a coaching job (other than an FBS head coaching position) between November 16th, 2019 and December 15, 2020, he would owe KU a buyout of $500k. If Kansas were to exercise its option in any of the final three years of Koenning’s deal and he were to leave for a non-FBS head coaching job, Koenning would owe just $250k.