Mason finally inks new contract

by David McCoy

The ink is finally on the page.

After a long negotiation period in which Minnesota football coach Glen Mason waited until the 11th hour to agree to the key terms of a contract extension ” then waited even longer to actually sign it ” the process is finally over.

Mason signed the extension Thursday.

The four-year deal, worth at least $1.65 million, will keep the nine-year coach at Minnesota until 2010.

“We’ve bounced around quite a bit, but Minnesota is home for us,” Mason said Jan. 3. “I love it here and my family loves it here. I know my wife, Kate, was concerned about maybe having to pull up roots and move again. I tried to assure her that wasn’t going to happen because this is our home.”

The deal, negotiated by University general counsel Mark Rotenberg, allocates $150,000 to Mason’s assistant coaches as well.

Mason also will be eligible for as much as $750,000 in incentive bonuses for Big Ten and national championships, bowl eligibility, national rankings and graduation rates, according to the contract.

Those incentives include $150,000 for each Bowl Championship Series bowl game, $100,000 for each New Year’s Day bowl and $25,000 for other bowls.

Mason also is entitled to $150,000 if the Gophers win or tie for the Big Ten title, descending to $75,000, $50,000 and $15,000, respectively, for second- , third- and fourth-place finishes.

Mason also will be compensated based on where Minnesota is ranked in the Associated Press’ post-bowl poll.

First is worth $300,000, second through fifth ” $200,000, sixth through 10th ” $150,000, 11th through 15th ” $75,000, 16th through 20th ” $50,000, and $25,000 for 21st through 25th.

If the sixth-year graduation rate of Mason’s football players exceeds the sixth year graduation rate of other University undergraduates by less than 5 percent, Mason will receive $50,000, increasing by $50,000 for each 5 percent increase up to $150,000.

Mason also will receive $450,000 over the four years for fulfilling media obligations.

Mason and the University agreed to the key terms of

the deal Dec. 31, just hours before the University would have been induced to send nonrenewal notices to Mason’s staff, whose contracts were to expire at midnight Dec. 31.

But because of “some personal extenuating circumstances on (Mason’s) lawyer’s behalf that really just prevented it from being finalized,” Mason’s contract remained unsigned for nearly a month while the final details were worked out.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said Mason’s new contract places him somewhere in the middle of the Big Ten in

coaches’ salaries. The additional compensation for the assistant coaches also ranks their salaries somewhere in the

middle of the Big Ten, Maturi said.

“I’ve said very publicly from the beginning that I want Glen Mason to be our football coach,” Maturi said Jan. 3. “And I also always felt he wanted to be our football coach. And with that foundation, I was convinced it was going to get done.”