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Friday, July 27, 2007
Report: Bennett gets new seven-year deal worth $800K per

Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Tony Bennett will receive the largest contract in Washington State coaching history after leading the men's basketball team to its best season in decades, a newspaper reported.

Bennett's new seven-year contract will pay him a guaranteed $800,000 per year as long as he stays at WSU through March 15 of each season, The Seattle Times reported Friday.

Bennett won numerous college coach of the year awards after leading the Cougars to a 26-8 record last season.

Bennett, who was originally signed to a five-year, $2 million deal in 2006, will more than double the $350,000 he made last season as a rookie coach.

Terms of the deal call for a $200,000 base salary, a $400,000 supplemental-compensation package and $200,000 each year he stays at WSU after March 15, provided Bennett "has neither left nor decided to leave" by that date.

The contract is larger than any other coach has received at WSU.

"I think it's not quite the Pac-10 average," said Jim Sterk, the WSU athletic director. "But it's definitely more than we were paying before.

"It was important for the department and for the university to continue the momentum of this past season," Sterk said. "Tony's someone who has the character and talent that we'd like to keep for a long time."

Head football coach Bill Doba, in his fifth year, gets a $155,000 base salary and $285,000 in supplemental income, for $440,000 guaranteed. He also gets $60,000 a year in deferred compensation if he completes a contract that runs through the 2009 season.

"We were just dealing with the situation we had in hand in basketball," Sterk said. "We'll address football as needed."

Bennett's contract also calls for a buyout starting at $500,000 and dropping incrementally to $250,000 after five years if he leaves WSU.