USF gives Fernandez a big raise

South Florida women's coach Jose Fernandez's base salary will go from $88,200 to $125,000 a year.

Published March 29, 2005

TAMPA - Jose Fernandez, who has led the South Florida women to their first postseason appearances in the last two years, is shedding his status as one of the lowest-paid coaches in women's college basketball.

Fernandez, due to make $88,200 in base salary next season in the final year of a three-year contract, signed a new five-year contract Monday night that will pay him $800,000, plus incentives.

Fernandez, 33, will draw a base salary of $125,000, and his compensation for TV and radio appearances doubles from $5,000 to $10,000. He will receive a $5,000 annual car allowance, and will also earn a $20,000 annuity each year, payable only upon his completion of the contract. The new contract will take effect July 1.

"I'm very excited to be at USF for the next five years," said Fernandez, who also gets a membership at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club, and will make an extra $10,000 each time the Bulls make the NCAA Tournament. "I think it really gives the kids we're recruiting some security of where I'm going to be for the next five years."

Fernandez has resurrected a program from rock bottom to the cusp of the NCAA Tournament. When he took over in 2000, coach Jerry Ann Winters had been fired amid allegations of racial discrimination. He went 4-24 his first season, but the team has shown steady improvement, with the Bulls making the program's first postseason appearance in last year's Women's NIT.

The Bulls went 21-11 this season, winning five more games than any team before it, and those victories included USF's first postseason win, 61-56 against Florida two weeks ago. Fernandez is 60-83 as a coach, but 35-26 in the past two seasons.