University of Kansas

Contracts show KU’s cost for firing a coordinator could be $1 million

It could cost Kansas a lot of money if it wanted to replace defensive coordinator Clint Bowen (right) or offensive coordinator Doug Meacham.
It could cost Kansas a lot of money if it wanted to replace defensive coordinator Clint Bowen (right) or offensive coordinator Doug Meacham. skeyser@kcstar.com

Both Kansas football coordinators signed three-year contracts before the season and each could potentially be owed $1 million if released voluntarily by KU Athletics in the next few months.

Offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen have similar clauses if they are fired based on performance, according to their contracts obtained by The Star. If let go, the assistant would be paid the remainder of his KU contract minus whatever salary he makes with a new position at another school.

Meacham is making $520,000 per year through 2019, while Bowen is receiving $500,000 per year. That means if Meacham was fired and did not coach anywhere else the next two years, he would be owed $1.04 million by KU; Bowen, in the same circumstance, would receive $1 million through 2019.

The contracts contain a stipulation that allows KU Athletics to “gross up” if it appears the coach is being intentionally underpaid at any new school. In that instance, KU Athletics would average the salaries of similar assistants on the coach’s new staff to determine a “commensurate” salary used to determine his KU compensation.

Both coaches also face harsh penalties if they decide to break the three-year pact on their own.

Each assistant — required in his contract to provide KU’s coach written notice before starting talks for any other coaching job — would owe KU Athletics $1 million if he leaves in 2017 or 2018 and $500,000 if he exits in 2019. The only exception is if Meacham or Bowen departs KU to accept a Division I head coaching job.

KU Athletics raised both of its coordinator salaries this offseason. Meacham’s yearly pay of $520,000 is nearly 50 percent more than previous offensive coordinator Rob Likens ($350,000), while Bowen received an increase from $400,600 to $500,000.

In all, KU upped its total football assistant salaries to $3,031,999 from $2,300,599 last season, according to a database of coaching salaries compiled by USA Today.

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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