University of Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte is reverting to a policy the school had used for decades to award assistant coaches and other athletic department staff members one-year appointment letters as opposed to multiyear guaranteed contracts.
Del Conte's predecessor Steve Patterson had changed the longstanding practice in 2015, when he gave then football coach Charlie Strong and nine assistants guaranteed multiyear contracts, a first in UT history. Amid rampant turnover in which new coaches also received multiyear deals, the policy wound up costing Texas $7.26 million in severance in 2016-17, according to audited figures reviewed by the Austin American-Statesman. Strong was fired after the 2016 season, and his successor Mike Perrin continued the multiyear contract approach.
Under the retro policy, coaches will still have latitude when hiring. If current coach Tom Herman wanted to entice a top assistant coaching prospect with a multiyear deal, it could still be approved. At UT, all multiyear contracts or anything worth more than $1 million annually must be approved by the UT System Board of Regents, the American-Statesman reported.
Same goes for Del Conte, who is in line for a $200,000 pay raise, bringing his annual compensation close to $1.5 million. The compensation adjustment will require regents' approval at a meeting this week.
When hired for the 2017 season, Herman received a five-year guaranteed contract with at least $25 million in guaranteed money, and he filled out his staff with coaches who got two-year deals. According to the American-Statesman, Herman has been cognizant to keep the staff intact no matter the cost, knowing how staff turnover helped fuel Strong's ouster.