New contract for ULL's Mark Hudspeth bumps salary past $1 million

Mark Hudspeth has led the Ragin' Cajuns to three straight bowl berths. (USATSI)
Mark Hudspeth has led the Ragin' Cajuns to three straight bowl berths. (USATSI)

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The hottest coach in the Sun Belt is now also its highest-paid.

Lousiana-Lafayette and coach Mark Hudspeth confirmed to the Lafayette Advertiser Thursday that Hudspeth has signed a new six-year contract, one that raises his base salary by $200,000 and will pay his an average of $1.075 million over the course of the total $6.45 million contract. 

"We were able to come to a really good agreement that protects both parties," Hudspeth said Thursday, per the Advertiser. "I really appreciate the work that [school president] Dr. [Joseph] Savoie and [athletic director] Scott Farmer have put into this."

The new contract was first reported in April by CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler, but the ironing out of its final details -- particularly regarding Hudpseth's buyout -- apparently delayed its announcement.

With the raise in place and Bobby Petrino no longer coaching at Western Kentucky, Hudpseth will be the Sun Belt's highest-paid coach.

"He deserves to be," Farmer told the Advertiser. "So it was, I think, the right thing to do. I think what he's done for our program, and the direction he has taken it, and the direction I think it's continually heading in, is worthy of that salary." 

The Ragin' Cajuns were coming off of a 3-9 season and had never been to a bowl game when Hudspeth, a former successful Division II head coach, was hired away from the Mississippi State coaching staff in late 2010. His teams have gone an identical 9-4 and won a New Orleans Bowl championship in all three seasons of his Ragin' Cajuns tenure.

Given that kind of success at a program so desperately starved for it, it won't be a surprise at all if Hudspeth is hired away early in the life of his new deal rather than later -- but that's not to say the Cajuns, of course, won't enjoy the ride while the lasts.

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