The UND athletic department is ramping up its investment in men’s basketball.
The contract for new head men’s basketball coach Paul Sather, obtained by the Herald in an open records request, calls for a base salary starting at $180,000 and reaching $200,000 by the fifth and final year of the deal.
That’s a significant boost from previous years. Former head coach Brian Jones, who announced his departure for an assistant job at Illinois State in early May, signed his final contract for a base salary starting at $140,000.
The initial job posting for Jones’ vacancy by UND listed a minimum starting salary of $140,000.
Sather’s contract runs from June 4, 2019, and ends April 30, 2024.
Sather’s bonus structure includes $5,000 for a conference regular season champion or co-champion, as well as $2,000 for a conference tournament championship and $2,000 for an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Each NCAA Tournament victory is worth $2,000. An NIT Tournament appearance nets $1,000.
The contract calls for several other academic-related bonuses, as well as bonuses for different Coach of the Year honors.
Sather’s bonuses are capped at 25 percent of his base salary for that contract year.
The boost for Sather comes not long after a big boost for Jones. On June 29, 2017, the Herald reported Jones had signed a four-year extension with UND for a base salary of $140,000, which was a boost of more than $30,000 from the previous season.
Jones received that extension following the program’s only trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
At the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Jones was the lowest-paid head coach (among universities required to make salaries public) in the Big Dance at $109,273.
Even that salary was a boost from UND’s early days of NCAA Division I.
In 2013, the Herald reported Jones was the Big Sky Conference’s lowest-paid men’s basketball coach, as well as the only one not making six figures. At that time, Jones was making $86,384.
Although Sather’s salary is a major boost from years prior at UND and cuts the gap with its peers, the school’s compensation remains behind the rest of the Division I Dakota schools.
At North Dakota State, head men’s basketball coach Dave Richman recently signed a contract extension that will start at $230,000 -- a boost from his previous deal of $190,000.
Richman’s deal calls for a $20,000 bonus for at least 25 wins in a regular season and $5,000 for a regular season Summit Championship.
At South Dakota, head men’s basketball coach Todd Lee makes $265,000 annually, while South Dakota State head coach Eric Henderson makes $275,000 annually, according to South Dakota’s online database for public employees.
Sather’s contract doesn’t indicate the salary pool for assistant coaches, which was a consistent point of contention in the Jones era. However, two recent job postings by the university give insight into a likely boost in that area, too.
The two latest job postings, which will fill the vacancies of former assistants Steve Grabowski and Craig Heatherly, are listed at starting salaries of $70,000 and $60,000.