The refrain has become tried and true for Big East fans -- the good coaches always leave 'em jilted.
Could that trend be changing?
Now that USF coach Skip Holtz has a new contract, the three hottest up-and-coming coaches remain in the Big East for at least another season -- with extensions in hand. Louisville coach Charlie Strong is now signed through 2018 at $2.3 million a year; Holtz is now signed through 2017 at $2 million a year; and Cincinnati coach Butch Jones is now signed through 2017 with an escalating salary that ends up paying him $2.05 million in the final year of his deal.
If you remember back to this offseason, all three men had their names tossed around as potential candidates at programs in bigger conferences. Jones has confirmed he turned down more money to stay at Cincinnati. Holtz and Strong saw their names pop up in various rumor mills.
All three have maintained their commitment to their respective programs for the long-term. Those words might ring hollow to fans who have seen their coaches make similar promises only to leave at the first available opportunity for something bigger. And contract extensions are a rote way of doing business.
But they do also show a commitment on the part of the university and the part of the coach. So do the buyouts that each coach must pay should he decide to leave -- buyouts that have been increased in each new contract:
Holtz must pay a $1 million buyout if he decides to leave USF before Dec. 8, 2013.
Jones must pay a $1.4 million buyout if he leaves before Jan. 1, 2013.
Strong must pay a is $2.2 million buyout if he decides to leave between now and June 30, 2013.
I realize buyouts and extensions don't guarantee anything. Contracts are made to be broken. But I choose to look at this trend positively. All three coaches are going into Year 3 in the Big East. Jones and Strong have won a share of a Big East championship. Louisville and USF are two of the favorites this year.
Each coach is trying to lay a solid foundation for future success. While it is true nobody knows what is going to happen in the future, I think it is a good sign right at this moment that all three have renewed their commitments.