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Steve Sarkisian Contract, Salary, & Buyout Breakdown at Texas

Ahead of the Red River Showdown, Boardroom takes a look at the Texas head coach’s contract, including how much the university would need to pay to fire him.

Say what you will about the 2022 editions of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners — seriously. All takes are welcome. But no matter what, you have to admit that Red River is more than a football game. It’s an event, and not just in Norman and Austin.

For Longhorn head coach Steve Sarkisian, Red River is an opportunity. Coming off a 5-7 season a year ago and with a 3-2 record so far this year, Texas fans are getting restless.

Yes, the guy has only coached 17 games, but Texas fans have high standards. As they should. A win over Oklahoma this weekend, however, can go a long way toward appeasing the locals. Here’s what’s at stake on the money side for Texas as the administration continues to evaluate the man in charge of their football program.

Steve Sarkisian Contract Overview at Texas

Signed: Feb. 2, 2021
Term: Through 2026 season
Base Salary: $2,080,000

Steve Sarkisian’s Supplemental Salary by Year

2022: $3,240,000
2023: $3,360,000
2024: $3,480,000
2025: $3,600,000
2026: $3,720,000

When you add Sarkisian’s base salary to his supplemental salary — keeping in mind he also received $3,120,000 in supplemental pay in 2021 — and also throw in a $1,200,000 retention bonus he’s in line to receive in 2024, the total guaranteed value of his deal comes out to $34,200,000 if he stays around for the duration. It’s a lot, yes, but pales in comparison to what Texas’s future (and past) conference rival Texas A&M is paying Jimbo Fisher. Or what Alabama pays Nick Saban.

Not to worry, though. A strong 2022 would put Sarkisian in line for an extension and raise. Considering the Longhorns’ impending move to the SEC and the flood of additional money heading their way, they’ll be able to pay him — or someone else — almost literally whatever they want.

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Steve Sarkisian Buyout Details

Here’s the part that the currently disgruntled Texas fans are looking for. Sarkisian’s buyout structure is fairly simple. His contract states that if Texas severs ties with the head coach, then the university will owe him 70% of whatever is remaining on his contract in base salary and supplemental salary.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say Texas fires him at the end of this season, on Dec. 31. He would have $22,480,000 remaining on his deal — remember, his retention bonus would not come into play here. Seventy percent of that is $15,736,000, which would amount to his total buyout. That sum would be paid out in monthly installments through 2026 when the contract would have otherwise expired.

Potential Bonuses

In addition to Sarkisian’s retention bonus, he has a number of incentives for individual and team accomplishments. All told, they could net him a total of $825,000. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • $100,000 if Texas plays in the conference championship game (and an additional $100,000 if Texas wins)
  • $25,000 if Texas plays in a non-New Year’s 6 bowl game (and an additional $50,000 if Texas wins)
  • $50,000 if Texas plays in a New Year’s 6 bowl game (and an additional $50,000 if Texas wins)
  • $100,000 if Texas makes the College Football Playoff
  • An additional $125,000 if Texas makes the National Championship Game
  • An additional $250,000 if Texas wins the National Championship
  • $100,000 if Sarkisian wins a national coach of the year award
  • $50,000 if he is named Big 12 (or SEC) Coach of the Year

Special Allowances & Perks

I know you’re wondering what cool perks the head football coach at the University of Texas gets. The expectations attached to the job may be unreasonable at times, but the freebies must be pretty great.

Well, wonder no more. Here’s what’s in Sarkisian’s contract:

  • Two courtesy automobiles
  • Club membership (Most universities specify “country club,” but this contract does not. Let your imagination run wild that he is a member of the local chess club.)
  • One suite for all home football games
  • Six tickets to home games for all other university sports
  • Access to a private airplane for personal use, up to 20 hours per year
  • $6,000 Nike Elite allowance

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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.