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Wednesday, November 30, 2005
South Florida gives Leavitt extension through 2012 news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- South Florida coach Jim Leavitt ended speculation that the Bulls' success in their first Big East season might land him a job elsewhere, agreeing to a contract extension through 2012 on Wednesday.

Leavitt, a former Kansas State assistant, is the only coach in the school's 10-year football history. Because of his ties to Kansas State, Leavitt had been mentioned as a possible candidate to succeed his former boss, Bill Snyder, who retired two weeks ago.

"I really feel that .. I am very fortunate to coach for USF and it's something I will never take for granted," Leavitt said.

The Bulls will take a 6-4 record into Saturday night's regular season finale against No. 12 West Virginia, a game that would have decided the conference title if USF had won at Connecticut last week.

The new deal replaces one that ran through 2009 and will pay Leavitt an average of $1 million per season in base salary and compensation for radio, television and appearances. He will earn $600,000 in 2006.

In addition, the contract includes a $75,000 incentive for a Bowl Championship Series appearance.

The terms also include buyout provisions -- $500,000 if Leavitt resigns between Jan. 1, 2006 and Jan. 1, 2008 and $400,000 between Jan. 1, 2008 and Jan. 1, 2012. There is no buyout in the final year of the contract.

"He has made our program competitive in the Big East Conference and within the BCS, and we feel like the terms of this extension are consistent with his outstanding achievements," athletic director Doug Woolard said.

Until last Saturday's 15-10 loss to Connecticut, the Bulls had a chance to finish with at least a tie for the Big East title and represent the conference in the BCS. They are still hopeful of receiving the school's first invitation to a bowl game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.