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New Arizona AD Heeke Signs 5-Year, $500K Deal

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Copyright 2017 The Arizona Daily Star. All Rights Reserved.

Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)

 


Arizona Wildcats athletic director Dave Heeke will make $500,000 plus incentives in the first year of a five-year contract approved Tuesday by the Arizona Board of Regents. He can make significantly more if the Wildcats deliver in the classroom and in five sports: football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball.

Heeke will start April 1.

Outgoing UA President Ann Weaver Hart told the regents Tuesday that Heeke's first-year base salary is the second-lowest among Pac-12 athletic directors. Heeke will make a base of $575,000 next year and $650,000 in Year 3.

Heeke's salaries in the final two years of the deal will be set by the UA's next president. The school named two finalists to succeed Hart as president on Tuesday.

"All in all, I think it's a win for the athletic department and the university," Hart told the regents.

She said Heeke's contract was "a very supportive one but absolutely within the norms -- medium to low -- for the start ... (and) nevertheless competitive for a move to the University of Arizona."

The UA on Saturday announced plans to hire Heeke, Central Michigan's longtime athletic director and the former chief of staff at Oregon. The 53-year-old Heeke replaces Greg Byrne, who made $735,000 last year after bonuses. Byrne's first day as Alabama's athletic director is Wednesday.

Heeke received a $75,000 signing bonus and will get up to $35,000 in moving expenses, according to UA documents. He will not receive the sort of retention package given to Byrne, UA football coach Rich Rodriguez and basketball coach Sean Miller. All three received promises of Western Refining Logistics from an anonymous booster if they stayed a predetermined amount of time.

Byrne's departure cost him 100,000 shares worth more than $2 million. Half of his shares were given to Miller last month when interim athletic director Erika Barnes, along with Hart, persuaded the regents to approve a two-year extension.

Heeke's bonuses (see box) hinge on multiyear Academic Progress Report (APR) scores, student-athlete GPAs, director's cup finishes and success in five sports.

The Wildcats were linked to other, higher-priced ADs during their search to replace Byrne. Chris Del Conte, a former UA associate athletic director now at TCU, came with a $3 million buyout. Kansas State's John Currie carried a $1.55 buyout, a figure that did not deter Tennessee from hiring him on Tuesday. Houston's Hunter Yurachek has a buyout of $350,000.

Heeke (pronounced HE-key) was in the final year of a contract that paid him $245,000 annually. His contract had no buyout.

"You try to attract a top-tier, Power-5 (conference) AD right now, and you're looking at $1-to-$3-million buyouts, $1 million-and-more contracts," UA booster Jeff Stevens told the regents.

Stevens praised Hart's handling of the hire. The president consulted with former Arizona Wildcats athletic director and NCAA president Cedric Dempsey and former UA deputy director of athletics Kathleen "Rocky" LaRose to replace the popular and successful Byrne. Hart said Miller, Rodriguez and women's basketball coach Adia Barnes all endorsed Heeke, as did big-name boosters.

Hart told the regents she was impressed by Central Michigan's football success under Heeke, and noted that the Chippewas have never been charged with violating NCAA rules.

Heeke will be introduced during a Thursday press conference at the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. He is the seventh full-time athletic director in UA history.

Heeke's bonuses

ACADEMICS

Academic Performance Rates (APR):

At least 1,000: Four weeks' base salary

At least 975: Two weeks' base salary

At least 950: One week's base salary

Grade point average:

Two weeks' salary if the UA male student athletes' GPA are higher than that of the general student body

Two weeks' salary if the UA female student athletes' GPA are higher than that of the general student body

ATHLETICS

Director's Cup standings:

Four weeks' base salary if Arizona finishes first in Director's Cup standings

Three weeks' base salary if Arizona finishes between second and 10th in Director's Cup standings

Two weeks' base salary if Arizona finishes between 11th and 15th in Director's Cup standings

One week's base salary if Arizona finishes between 16th and 25th in Director's Cup standings

Football bowl appearances:

Four weeks' base salary if Arizona makes the College Football Playoff

Two weeks' salary if Arizona makes a "New Years Six" bowl game

One week's base salary if Arizona makes a7 bowl game

Men's basketball postseason appearances:

Four weeks' base salary if Arizona win the national championship

Three weeks' base salary if Arizona makes the Final Four

Two weeks' base salary if Arizona makes the Sweet 16

Women's basketball postseason appearances:

Four weeks' base salary if Arizona win the national championship

Three weeks' base salary if Arizona makes the Final Four

Two weeks' base salary if Arizona makes the Sweet 16

Baseball postseason appearances

Four weeks' base salary if Arizona wins the College World Series

Two weeks' base salary if Arizona makes the College World Series

One week's base salary if Arizona makes Super Regionals

Softball postseason appearances

Four weeks' base salary if Arizona wins the Women's College World Series

Two weeks' base salary if Arizona makes the Women's College World Series

One week's base salary if Arizona makes Super Regionals

Credit: Arizona Daily Star

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