After announcing Danny Hope's dismissal last month, Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke defended the school's financial commitment to the football program.
"I don't think there's any resource commitment question," he said.
Still, the facts showed Hope earned less ($950,000) than every other Big Ten head coach, and his staff was among the lowest-paid in a major conference. Before Gus Malzahn left Auburn for Arkansas State, he was earning more as an offensive coordinator ($1,309,600) than Hope was as a head coach in the Big Ten. That raises a red flag.
Whether Burke liked it or not, questions about Purdue's investment in football would linger. The school appears to have answered some of them in the contract for new head coach Darrell Hazell. Purdue's trustees on Saturday approved a six-year contract for Hazell that will pay the coach $2 million annually, more than double what Hope earned. The trustees also approved $2.1 million for Hazell to hire assistant coaches, approximately $500,000 more than Hope had for his annual staff salaries.
Other notes about Hazell's contract:
He receives a base salary of $250,000 and a supplemental stipend of $1.75 million for media and marketing appearances, of which $300,000 can be deferred. He'll receive a minimum raise of $50,000 for each year of his contract.
He can earn up to $1 million in bonuses (based on the team's academic and on-field performance), including a $400,000 bump for getting Purdue to a Rose Bowl or another BCS-level bowl.
Purdue provided Hazell with a $725,000 interest-free loan to pay his buyout at Kent State. If Hazell meets the conditions of his contract, the loan will be forgiven at the end of the six years.
Hazell must pay Purdue $2.5 million if he leaves for another job before Jan. 1, 2015. The buyout drops to $1.5 million if he leaves before Jan. 1, 2017, and then to $500,000 if he departs before the end of 2018.
Hazell's contract doesn't pop off the page in today's college football, where coaches' salaries are spiking. But the compensation package is more appropriate for a major-conference coach, and it should allow him to bring in a solid staff, which he had at Kent State. Hazell has yet to officially announce any of his staff appointments.