After leading Arizona to an 8-5 season in his first year in Tucson, Rodriguez this week received a one-year contract extension and a raise of $225,000, according to the Arizona Republic.
Rodriguez was hired in November 2011 — after a year out of football following his firing at the end of a disappointing three-year tenure at Michigan — and was making $1,005,000 in base salary and $495,00 for public appearances for a cumulative $1.5 million in pay. Under his new deal, which runs for five years (the maximum allowed by the Arizona Board of Regents), his salary will increase to $1,725,000 this year and then go up each December 1 by $125,000, eventually reaching $2,225,000 if he were to complete the contract. He also receives $300,000 a year from Nike and IMG, the school’s marketing affiliates.
Rodriguez ranked 10th among Pac-12 coaches in salary last year, ahead of only Oregon State coach Mike Riley and since-fired Colorado coach Jon Embree (as private schools, Stanford and USC do not publicize the salaries of coaches David Shaw and Lane Kiffin, but they are both believed to be making well over $3 million a year). And despite the significant increase, Rodriguez will still be well below the national BCS-conference coaching average of $2,370,959, according to USA Today.
The extension wasn’t unexpected, as Rodriguez’s first season with the Wildcats was a successful one. Coming off a 3-9 season that included the firing of Mike Stoops, Arizona went 7-5 in the regular season, received an invitation to the New Mexico Bowl and then came back to beat Nevada 49-48 in the bowl game to finish with eight wins for the first time since 2009.
The UA offense finished 15th nationally in rushing, 23rd in passing, seventh in total yards and 15th in scoring, and running back Ka’Deem Carey was named a consensus All-American after leading the country with 1,929 rushing yards, scoring 23 touchdowns and setting a Pac-12 record with 366 rushing yards in a win over Colorado.
Rodriguez has a 134-93-2 record as a head coach, including a 75-48 mark in the FBS.
There was speculation after the season that both Auburn and Tennessee had interest in hiring Rodriguez to fill their coaching vacancies, but athletic director Greg Byrne told the Arizona Daily Star that he actually first spoke with Rodriguez about an extension in October.
The new deal includes a buyout of $1.5 million if Rodriguez leaves for another job before December 1 of this year. It drops to $1 million in 2014, and there is no buyout afterward unless Rodriguez takes a job elsewhere in the Pac-12.