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Mack Brown Contract & Buyout Breakdown at North Carolina

The College Football Hall of Famer is one win shy of 100 all-time at North Carolina and can get there with an ACC Championship win. Here’s what UNC is paying him his second time around in Chapel Hill.

It’s almost hard to believe that in his first go-around as North Carolina head coach, Mack Brown went 2-20 over his first two seasons. More than 30 years later — and with a storied tenure at Texas in between — Brown has the Tar Heels ranked 23rd nationally and in the ACC Championship Game. They’ll face Clemson on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

For the team, it’ll be a chance to wash away the sour taste left in their mouths from two straight losses to end the regular season. Brown will be able to do the same, while also cashing in on thousands in bonuses.

How much, exactly, can Brown earn with a win on Saturday — or with a win plus another major victory in bowl season? And what has he already earned in 2022? Boardroom dives into the Mack Brown contract.

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Mack Brown Salary & Contract Overview at North Carolina

Signed: Feb. 1, 2022
Term: Through 2026 season
Base Salary: $900,000

Mack Brown Supplemental Compensation

In addition to his base salary and any bonuses he may accrue, Brown will receive supplemental compensation of $3,300,000 per year, paid in quarterly installments. This is in order to, as the contract states, “provide [Brown] with a compensation package competitive with that provided to head football coaches at [North Carolina’s] peer institutions.” This seems to be in lieu of the usual “media compensation” packages other schools provide.

But Brown is guaranteed even more. His contract allots a $100,000 annual allowance to be used “for entertainment and other appropriate purposes to advance the Program.” He will also receive an additional $500,000 for fulfilling his duties so that North Carolina can comply with its multimedia contract with Learfield and another $200,000 for doing the same for UNC and Nike.

Add it all together, and Brown’s total annual compensation before bonuses comes out to an even $5 million, or $25 million total over the life of the contract.

For added context, here’s how that compares to other college football coaches whose contracts Boardroom has analyzed so far this season:

*coach has since been fired

Mack Brown Buyout Details

Compared to his peers, Brown has a relatively small buyout if the university decides to fire him without cause. Brown’s contract states that he would be entitled to whatever base salary remains on his contract. Because his base salary is just $900,000 per year and does not include supplemental pay, this means that if the Tar Heel administration fires him after this year (not likely, the guy has UNC in the ACC title game), Brown would only be due $3,600,000.

There also exists the possibility that Brown leaves North Carolina for another college or professional football job. In that event, he would owe the university 50% of whatever his buyout would have been had he been fired. For example, if he were to accept another job after this season, he would owe UNC 50% of $3.6 million, or $1,800,000.

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Potential Bonuses

There’s nothing unusual about Brown’s bonus structure at North Carolina — they all fall into the usual buckets of postseason success, individual coach awards, and academic success. His total bonuses, however, are capped at $1 million per year. Here’s how it breaks down:

Regular Season Bonuses
  • ACC Coastal Division Championship: $200,000
  • ACC Championship: $250,000
  • Top 25 finish in CFP Poll: $50,000 (increased to $100,000 if top 15)
Bowl Games

College Football Playoff bonuses are cumulative.

  • Non-New Year’s 6 Bowl Game appearance: $75,000
  • New Year’s 6 Bowl Game appearance: $200,000
  • College Football Playoff appearance: $100,000 (in addition to NY6 payout)
  • National Championship Game appearance: $200,000
  • National Championship: $200,000
Coach Awards
  • ACC Coach of the Year: $50,000
  • National Coach of the Year: $100,000
Academic Bonus

Brown is eligible to receive a $50,000 bonus if his team achieves an APR of 975 or better in a given season. In the only year on record in which Brown was at North Carolina for the entirety of the measured term, the Tar Heels submitted a perfect 1000 score.

If you’re keeping track for this season, Brown has already earned $200,000 for winning the ACC Coastal Division. UNC is also assured of going to a bowl game at 9-3, so he’s locked up another $75,000. If the Tar Heels can upset Clemson, Brown will earn his $250,000 conference championship bonus and would be virtually assured of a $50,000 CFP Poll bonus (and maybe even an additional 50K if they finish in the top 15). A playoff appearance is out of the question, but a win on Saturday would put North Carolina in the Orange Bowl, which would trigger another $200,000.

All that means Brown will make a minimum of $275,000 in bonuses this year, with the potential of up to $825,000 before the team’s APR is even calculated.

Additional Perks

In addition to Brown’s salary and bonuses, he is entitled to the following perks:

  • At least one university-provided automobile
  • Four tickets and access to 10 additional tickets for all football games, including bowl games
  • Four tickets to all UNC home sporting events
  • A suite for all football home games and access to the athletic director’s suite at away games
  • Personal use of a private aircraft for up to 25 hours per year

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.