tampabay.com

Leavitt deal tops Big East coaches

USF will pay an average of $1.8-million a year.

By GREG AUMAN
Published February 2, 2008


TAMPA - Jim Leavitt hasn't signed the seven-year, $12.6-million contract offered to him, but USF is expected to make an announcement on that signing before the nation's recruits make their final decisions Wednesday on national signing day.

And with a yearly average of $1.8-million, the new contract would make Leavitt the highest-paid coach in the Big East, trumping the extension signed by Rutgers' Greg Schiano, which averages $1.7-million through 2016.

Leavitt's current contract, officially signed in January 2006, is the oldest unaltered contract in the league. Connecticut's Randy Edsall and Cincinnati's Brian Kelly got new deals. The other three league coaches were publicly courted for BCS jobs; if Leavitt has gotten calls about such jobs this offseason, he has kept that out of public earshot.

Leavitt and athletic director Doug Woolard are not expected to comment on the contract until it's formally announced; the exposure from the deal could help as the Bulls finalize their incoming recruiting class.

The pool for Leavitt's nine full-time assistants, $690,000 in 2005, will be $1.25-million in 2008 under the proposed deal. That's an 81 percent increase over three years, even if only Wally Burnham, Carl Franks, Greg Gregory actually bridge the gap from the 2005 staff to the '08 assistants.

When Leavitt allocates the new pool among his staff, it's probable that only one or two assistants will make less in 2008 than the $104,000 that co-defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz made in 2005 as USF's highest-paid assistant.

Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com and at 813 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.

FAST FACTS

State deals

How Jim Leavitt's contract stacks up with some other coaches in the state:

Urban Meyer, Florida: $3.2-million per year through 2012 season

Bobby Bowden, FSU: $2.4-million per year through January 2009

Randy Shannon, Miami: $800,000 to $1-million a year through 2010 season