Note: This story has been updated to clarify the terms of the buyout.
Dave Doeren’s new contract will mean more money and more security for the N.C. State football coach, but it also comes with a bigger buyout.
The five-year contract, approved by N.C. State’s board of trustees this past Thursday, runs through the 2022 season and bumps Doeren’s annual compensation to about $3 million (up from about $2.2 million last season).
Doeren, 46, is coming off his best season with the Wolfpack. The team went 9-4, with a 6-2 ACC mark, and finished ranked in the top 25.
Doeren has a 34-30 overall record in five seasons at N.C. State with a 15-25 ACC record. The past four teams have reached a bowl game and three (in 2014, ’16 and ’17) have won their bowl game.
The potential catch for Doeren, who turned down more lucrative offers from Tennessee and Oregon State in December, is the structure of the contract significantly drives up the cost of his buyout.
Under athletic director Debbie Yow, N.C. State has structured contracts to pay out the base salary if a coach leaves, or is fired, before the end of his or her contract.
Thus, the base salary for football and men’s basketball has been significantly less than what the school calls supplemental compensation (the money it pays out from its media contracts with Learfield Sports and Capitol Broadcasting and its apparel contract with adidas).
Last year, Doeren’s base salary was $840,000 and his supplemental compensation was $1,360,000.
That’s going to change under Doeren’s new deal. The first two years of the contract, the base salary will be $1.5 million and the supplemental income will be $1.5 million.
In the third year of the contract (the 2020 season), the base salary increases to $2.25 million with $750,000 in supplemental compensation.
The final two years of the contract, in 2021 and ’22, all of the money ($3 million each year) will be paid as the base salary.
N.C. State also tweaked the language in Doeren's buyout. If Doeren wanted to leave for another job — or the school decided to fire him before the end of the contract — he would owe the amount of his base salary (in that year) multiplied by the years remaining on the contract.
So, for example, if Doeren decided to take another job after the 2019 season, he would owe $4.5 million ($1.5 million base salary times three) back to the school.
New to Doeren’s contract is also a provision for the “staff compensation pool,” which Doeren said back in December — when the deal was negotiated — was a priority for him.
The pool for assistant coaches and support staff was increased by $750,000 for this season, and more money will be added to the pool for every season N.C. State wins eight or more games.
Also, new to Doeren’s contract under “participation in decision-making,” chancellor Randy Woodson has to confer with Doeren on the selection of the next athletic director. Yow’s contract runs through June 2019, and she has said her plan is to retire then.
Doeren’s new contract also includes several academic-based and on-field bonuses. The bonuses for wins, bowls, postseason appearances:
- $50,000 for eight wins, $100,000 for nine wins, $150,000 for 10 wins, $200,000 for 11 wins and $250,000 for 12 or more wins.
- $100,000 for an appearance in the ACC championship game, $200,000 for a win in the ACC championship game.
- $25,000 for a bowl appearance, $50,000 for a bowl win, $100,000 for an appearance in the College Football Playoff bowl, $200,000 for a win in the CFP bowl, $250,000 for an appearance in CFP semifinals, $300,000 for an appearance in the CFP national championship, $500,000 for a win in CFP national championship.
- $50,000 for a top 25 ranking in the final CFP poll, $100,000 for a top 15 ranking in the final CFP poll.