Washington has signed coach Kalen DeBoer to a contract extension that adds two years and $1 million per year in value to his existing contract. The six-year contract will pay DeBoer $26.7 million base salary and increases his buyout above $10 million through the 2025 season, according to The Athletic.
DeBoer's original contract was for five years and $16.5 million, making him one of the lower-paid coaches at the Power Five level and 10th out of 12 in the Pac-12. The new deal brings him into the middle class of Pac-12 coaches. His $4.2 million salary in 2023 would rank slightly behind Oregon's Dan Lanning at No. 6 in the conference.
"It is clear that Kalen is such an amazing fit at the University of Washington," athletic director Jen Cohen said. "He has come in and made an incredible impact in every aspect of the program, our department, the University and the Seattle community. Kalen is an elite competitor who approaches each and every situation with the utmost class and integrity. We couldn't be more excited that he and his family will be on Montlake for the foreseeable future leading these tremendous young men in our football program."
In his first season at the helm, DeBoer has led the program to a 9-2 record, more than doubling the program's mark of 4-8 in 2021. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. leads the nation with 3,869 yards passing one year after the program ranked No. 73 nationally in passing offense.
The Huskies moved up in the latest edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings to No. 13 on Tuesday after handing No. 9 Oregon its second loss of the season in a 37-34 decision. If the Ducks lose against rival Oregon State and Washington edges Washington State in the Apple Cup, the Huskies still have a dark horse path to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
"My family and I have loved every minute of being here at this amazing institution in this world-class city," DeBoer said. "We talk all the time about how it's the people who set a place apart and Husky Nation is filled with some of the best have ever encountered. We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received and are excited to continue to build on the amazing tradition of success we have here at the University of Washington."
Winning track record
DeBoer wasn't the flashiest hire when Washington identified him after he spent just two years at Fresno State. However, DeBoer has won everywhere he has coached over a lengthy career from small college to the Power Five. He led NAIA Sioux Falls to three national championships and a 67-3 record before working at Southern Illinois, Eastern Michigan and Indiana during some of their most successful seasons.
After leading Fresno State to a 9-3 record in his second season, DeBoer has quickly found success at his first Power Five coaching gig. After all the chaos at the end of the Jimmy Lake era in Seattle, the Huskies identified key transfers and developed existing talent at a notable level.
Despite the 4-8 record, the Washington roster was still talented. The next step will be proving that DeBoer can identify and recruit a Pac-12-contending roster. With a top-30 recruiting class so far in the 2023 cycle, DeBoer is in good shape.
Buyouts are often seen as tools to benefit coaches, but Washington shrewdly signed DeBoer to a university-friendly contract. DeBoer would owe the university more than $10 million if he left the school before Jan. 31, 2026, giving the program three more full seasons before others could consider poaching DeBoer. Additionally, the contract writes in hefty retention bonuses. DeBoer receives retention bonuses of $500,000 for staying with the program through March 2024 and March 2026. On March 15, 2028, he could receive a $1 million bonus if still the head coach at Washington.
Granted, DeBoer's contract is still relatively modest for major college football. Michigan State signed Mel Tucker to a 10-year, $95 million contract after one good season. LSU coach Brian Kelly's deal cleared $100 million. If a Big Ten or SEC program wants DeBoer, they can wrangle the money. It's going to cost them, though.