Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Arizona State search to replace Dennis Erickson got its man in Todd Graham, but it didn't come without a high cost in negative press for the new Sun Devil head coach--or, as Tuesday's revealed contract details show, an equally high price in cold, hard cash.
The full details are available as an executive summary from the school's Board of Regents here (PDF), with Graham's deal set to award him $2 million per season over five seasons, a total of $10 million if Graham serves the length of the contract or if the school fires him beforehand. The contract also includes a minor $50,000 escalation for each year Graham stays in Tempe.
Perhaps the most interesting detail, however, is that the Sun Devils were desperate enough to grease the tracks of Graham's messy departure from Pitt with $1 million in buyout money.
Other interesting tidbits:
-- As with most FBS coaches, Graham has a litany of bonuses built into his contract, up to $750,000 for winning the BCS national title game. (Good luck with that, Mr. Graham.) But he must "forfeit and repay all compensation and bonuses paid" if any of the accomplishments which triggered those bonuses are vacated by the NCAA. Here's a guess that Graham will want a beefier Sun Devil compliance office soon.
-- Graham cannot leave the Sun Devils for another Pac-12 job "for the rest of the original contract's term," or at least not without (we're speculating) a sizable legal fight.
-- Per the Arizona Republic: "As football coach, Graham receives tickets to ASU sporting events, the use of two automobiles or a stipend, golf privileges at the ASU Karsten Golf Course, reimbursement of membership fees and monthly dues at a country club and one-time payment of relocation expenses." Good work if you can get it, huh?
Of course, what remains surprising about the Graham move is that the Sun Devil job still seems like outstanding work for a coach who'd just gone a mediocre-at-best 6-6 at Pitt to get. Though $2 million isn't outrageous, the contract (and buyout repayment) still does nothing to alter the perception that Graham