Bruce Pearl certainly wasn’t making chump change while working for ESPN, but it was nothing compared to what he’s getting from Auburn. According to Mike Szvetitz of Opelika-Auburn News, Pearl signed a six-year contract worth $16.7 million.
Pearl will earn $2.2 million in his first season as coach. His base salary will then jump $100,000 every additional year of the contract.
For comparison sake, the $2.2 million ties Arkansas’ Mike Anderson for third highest in the SEC. The conference’s only two NCAA championship-winning coaches, Billy Donovan ($3.5 million) and John Calipari ($4.2 million), will earn more than Pearl in 2014-15. Auburn’s previous coach Tony Barbee made $1.5 million per year.
In regards to buyouts, Pearl’s is quite hefty. If he leaves during his first two seasons, Pearl will owe the school $5 million. For every subsequent season, the amount drops by $1 million. If Auburn terminates Pearl before the contract’s duration, it will owe the coach the remainder of his due salary.
When discussing the new hire and contract, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs spoke matter-of-factly:
“We’ve made an investment in basketball,” Jay Jacobs said. “And he [Pearl] did too.”
Auburn has not made the NCAA Tournament in over a decade (2003). In Pearl, the university hires a man who made the tournament in his past seven active seasons, and eight of the 10 years he has coached DI basketball. Clearly that track record, to Jacobs, is well worth the investment.