Fresno State football coach Jeff Tedford this season led the Bulldogs to a school-record 12 wins, a Mountain West Conference championship and a win in the Las Vegas Bowl.
With that success and through a long and lucrative list of performance bonuses in his contract, Tedford could push past $3 million in salary.
“The thing that I appreciate about contracts, when they’re performance-based, it basically is saying that we are compensating an individual for the excellence that they bring to our place,” athletic director Terry Tumey said.
“That aspect of it makes you feel that things are equitable, in a certain fashion. If I think about what we currently have as it relates to our football coach, we have young people who are being invested in, we have people who are having a quality experience, we have people who feel as through they’re being developed not only on the field but off the field as individuals, we have success in our program,” he added.
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“We are seeing great citizenship from our student-athletes, academically we’re growing tremendously. Because of all those things, the steward, or the architect of that, is being rewarded.”
Tedford has a base salary of $1.55 million and under terms of his contract is due through performance bonuses to receive:
- $300,000 for 10 regular-season wins
- $250,000 for winning the Mountain West Conference
- $200,000 for winning the Las Vegas Bowl
- $150,000 for a final Top 25 College Football Playoff ranking
- $200,000 for paid attendance of 130,000 or more, or $300,000 for paid attendance of 152,000 or more.
Tedford also is a finalist for a national coach of the year award – the Paul Bear Bryant coach of the year – that would provide a $100,000 bonus.
There also are three bonuses tied to the Bulldogs’ academic performance – Academic Progress Rate (APR) score, team grade-point average and federal graduation rate.
Those bonuses max out at $175,000, $105,000 and $135,000 — a total of $415,000.
The supplemental income is contingent on the team posting an APR score of 930, and if less than 930, university president Joseph Castro and Tumey can grant an exception for a maximum of $100,000.
Tedford last season earned $1.24 million in bonuses, bringing his total pay to $2.79 million. Among FBS football coaches only Georgia coach Kirby Smart earned more bonus money – $1.35 million – according to a USA Today database.
If pushing past the $3 million mark, Tedford would rank first in the Mountain West Conference and likely land in the Top 50 in the nation.
In the conference Tedford ranks only third in base salary, but has more available through bonuses than any coach in the conference.
Colorado State coach Mike Bobo has a base salary of $1.8 million and bonuses that max out at $905,000; Boise State coach Bryan Harsin has a base salary of $1,650,010 and bonuses that top out at $475,000; Wyoming coach Craig Bohl has a base salary of $1,412,000 and bonuses worth up to $450,000; Utah State coach Matt Wells, who left to take the job at Texas Tech, had a base salary of $900,000 and as much as $765,000 available through bonuses; San Diego State coach Rocky Long has a base salary of $872,576 with bonuses that max out at $720,000.
The only other coach in the Mountain West with more than $1 million available through performance bonuses is Nick Rolovich at Hawaii – $1.26 million. His base salary is $425,000.
“For me, I know the commas and zeros make a big different to a lot of folks, and they do, as we try to stay fiscally responsible and as we try to do things that are representative of our institution, but I don’t know if there’s anything that’s more reflective of excellence than all those attributes I mentioned before for Jeff and what he has done for our program,” Tumey said.
“I feel comfortable with that piece. I feel comfortable in what we’re doing and I think the only thing that I want to try to do, I want to figure out how to ensure the continued aspect of that and that means I have to continue to invest not only in Coach Tedford but in all of our sports so we all can reach those same plateaus as it relates to compensation for our coaches.”