The rumblings first surfaced last night that Bobby Petrino was on the verge of a new seven-year deal, although the financial particulars were not yet known.
Well, they are now and, suffice to say, it’s going to be very merry — and very green — Christmas around the Petrino household.
Arkansas officially announced this evening that they had reached an agreement on a seven-year contract extension with their head coach. The new deal would keep him in Fayetteville through Dec. 31, 2017, and effectively take him out of the running — if he was even it — for the Florida vacancy.
The release announcing the extension states that the new agreement supersedes the remaining four years of the original employment agreement.
“We are pleased to announce a new agreement with Coach Bobby Petrino that will enable our program to move forward under the leadership of one of the most successful college football coaches in the nation,” athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. “This agreement demonstrates a mutual long-term commitment between Coach Petrino and the University of Arkansas. Coach Petrino has done a tremendous job in leading the Razorback program to new levels of success both on and off the field. I appreciate his strong desire to remain at the University of Arkansas to continue to build our program and positively impact the lives of our student-athletes. I am excited about the direction of the Razorback Football program and look forward to Coach Petrino serving as the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks for many years to come.”
“I am excited to express my commitment to the University of Arkansas,” Petrino said. “Chancellor (Dave) Gearhart and Jeff Long have been tremendous in terms of their support and I appreciate the positive energy the fans have demonstrated. I look forward to continuing to dedicate myself to leading the Razorback football program.”
Now, for those financial particulars…
The release also reveals that the seven-year deal will pay Petrino an average of $3.56 million annually. That figure would’ve made Petrino the sixth-highest paid coach in college football in 2010.
Like we stated last night, this is exactly why a successful head coach, regardless of how much they protest publicly, does not mind having their names connected to coaching vacancies.
Illinois has extended year-long interim head coach Bill Cubit for another two seasons, the program announced Saturday afternoon. Does that make him a short-term full-time head coach or a long-term interim coach? Or a combination of the two?
Either way, Cubit is in Champaign to stay through the 2017 season.
A mitigating factor here, undoubtedly, is the absence of a full-time chancellor and a full-time athletics director.
“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” interim athletics director Paul Kowalczyk said in a statement. “Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach. We wanted to allow Bill to make decisions regarding the program as the head coach without the interim title, and lead the Fighting Illini into Saturday’s game without speculation.”
Cubit’s extended contract will pay him $1.2 million annually. Former Illini head coach Tim Beckman made a reported $1.8 million.
“During the past three months, Coach Cubit has led this team with a steady and experienced hand,” interim chancellor Barbara Wilson said. “He has earned respect and appreciation from all of us. This move will allow the permanent Athletics Director to evaluate the program at his or her own schedule and make decisions based on those evaluations once that search is completed.”
Illinois is 5-6 this season, playing to extend its season at home against No. 16 Northwestern (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
Confirming what was reported earlier this week, Tulane announced Saturday morning it had relieved head coach Curtis Johnson of duties.
Johnson closed his four-year tenure with a 45-34 loss to Tulsa Friday night, a game where the Green Wave led midway though the fourth quarter but were undone by two pick-sixes. He closes his run with a 15-34 record, peaking with a 7-6 mark and a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning only eight games in his other three seasons.
“I want to thank CJ for his hard work and his dedication to rebuilding the Green Wave football program,” Tulane AD Rick Dickson said in a statement. “His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Tulane reached its first bowl in 11 years. Since then, however, the program has not progressed to the level that we aspire to.”
Similar to Illinois, Central Florida and possibly Rutgers, Tulane says it will find a replacement for Dickson (who originally said he’d step down mid-2016) before finding a new head coach.
Many assume Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood won’t survive this disappointing and scandal-ridden fourth season of his. But it could be his boss, the highly controversial Julie Hermann, that receives the ax first.
According to a report from Keith Sargeant of NJ.com, Hermann could see her 30-month tenure end as soon as this weekend.
“Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is expected to meet with university President Robert Barchi before the end of the weekend, three people familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media on Friday,” Sargeant wrote. “The meeting, presumably called by Barchi, is the first evidence the university’s administration is preparing to act.”
Sargeant writes that Hermann has been kept in the dark while the university conducts a top-to-bottom investigation into the football program’s compliance efforts. Flood was suspended three games and fined $50,000 earlier this season for overriding the church-state relationship between football and academics.
The results of that investigation could find Rutgers joining the ranks of Illinois and Central Florida among schools looking to hire an AD and head football coach at the same time.
“The futures of Flood and Hermann could hang on a report being compiled by the university’s office of enterprise risk management, ethics and compliance,” wrote Sargeant. “The report is expected to detail allegations of failed drug tests and other issues that could result in NCAA infractions and possible sanctions, multiple people familiar with the situation have told NJ Advance Media.”
In addition to a losing season on the field, Rutgers football has dealt with drug suspensions and player arrests off the field this fall.
A 40-23 loss to Boise State Friday condemned San Jose State to a third straight bowl-less season, but Spartans AD Gene Bleymaier said afterwards the setback would not result in a change in job status for head coach Ron Caragher.
“There’s no question about his status,” Bleymaier told the Contra Costa Times. “Ron’s our coach, and he’ll be our coach going forward.”
Hired away from San Diego to replace the departed Mike MacIntyre, Caragher is just 14-22 in three seasons leading the Spartans.
San Jose State did go 6-6 in his debut season of 2013 but did not garner a bowl invite.