Ron Zook entered the 2010 season seated squarely on one of the hottest coaching seats in the country. He came out of it with a slightly cooler backside, thanks to a 7-6 record and a bowl win.
As a result, the Illinois head coach will reap a little financial reward as well.
Illini athletic director Ron Guenther confirmed to reporters Wednesday that his football coach will make $1.75 million over the final three years of his contract. Zook had been slated to make $1.5 million before the raise.
“Ron and I sat down and specifically looked at his compensation,” Guenther said. “After the Rose Bowl (after the 2007 season) we didn’t have the opportunity to adjust his salary. So, it came down to a decision he and I had to make whether to extend for less money or give him a significant raise.”
In six seasons with the Illini, Zook has compiled a 28-45 record, including a 14-28 mark in the Big Ten. Last season was just the second year he’s won more than five games with the Illini.
Zook wasn’t the only one to benefit from the “turnaround” season in 2010, either, as a handful of his assistants received a bump in pay as well.
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino received a boost from $475,000 to $525,000 after overseeing the highest-scoring offense in school history. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning’s salary jumped from $325,000 to $342,000.
All told, Illinois will pay $420,000 more to their football coaches in 2011 than they did in 2010.