In late November it was reported that Larry Coker and UT-San Antonio were closing in on an approval for a contract extension for the head coach.
Nearly nine months later that “closing in on” has morphed into “finalized.”
According to the San Antonio Express-News, a contract extension for Coker has been signed off on by the University of Texas Systems’ Board of Regents. The regents gave their official approval during a meeting Thursday morning.
The school subsequently confirmed the contract in a press release.
“It’s good news to hear that the Board of Regents approved the new contract today,” Coker said in a statement. “I’m extremely grateful for the support from Lynn Hickey and Dr. (Ricardo) Romo. My family and I are very happy at UTSA and we love the San Antonio community. We are working very hard to build this program the right way and this new contract will help us continue to move forward toward accomplishing our goals.”
The contract extension, which extends Coker for three additional years through the 2018 season, had already been recommended to the regents and approved by the UT System’s vice chancellor for academic affairs. Coker would be 70 years old if he’s still the Roadrunners’ head coach at the end of the extension.
In addition to the extension, Coker also received a raise. It guarantees $2.25 million over the next five years, with $400,000 for the first year and calling for a $25,000 increase each subsequent year. That means the final year of Coker’s contract would be worth $500,000.
In 2013, Coker earned $350,000, the lowest of any head coach in Conference USA. Next lowest? FAU’s Carl Pelini and his $497,000. Pelini is no longer with the Owls, which means Coker is chasing UTEP’s Sean Kugler and FIU’s Ron Turner, who both made $500,000 last year.
The fact that UTSA would extend Coker is far from surprising as he’s taken a fledgling football program and, in short order, turned it into one of the “mid-majors” on the rise.
UTSA’s first season was in 2011 as a member of the FCS; the Roadrunners have spent the past two seasons as provisional FBS members.
The fact that UTSA is now a full-fledged FBS member, officially confirmed earlier this month, means that the Roadrunners will be bowl-eligible in 2014. In 2012 and 2013, during UTSA’s FBS transition phase, the Roadrunners went 8-4 and 7-5, respectively, which would’ve made the school eligible for the postseason.
The Roadrunners will compete in Conference USA — they were in that conference last year, in the now-defunct WAC the year before — and will be eligible for that league’s championship game as well.
As we wrote before and for the record, UTSA opens 2014 with games against Houston, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Nothing says “cannonballing into full FBS membership” more than that schedule.