Football coach Mike Sanford’s proposed three-year contract extension appears to be a good deal for him and UNLV.
Sanford’s bonus money for bowl appearances would double, but the school would have to pay only a $225,000 buyout should it fire him at any point before the contract expires, it was learned Wednesday.
The deal must be approved by the Nevada Board of Regents.
Sanford has a year left on his deal, and this extension will take him through the 2012 season. He will continue to earn $425,000 per year — $150,000 in base pay and $137,500 each for media and public appearances.
He will receive a $15,000 bonus for any bowl appearance, $25,000 for a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl and $100,000 for making a Bowl Championship Series game. Those figures are double what they were in the previous deal.
"It would be inappropriate for me to comment prior to it going before the board of regents, but I very much appreciate the support," Sanford said.
Athletic director Mike Hamrick also said he did not want to comment prior to the board of regents meeting on Feb. 5 and 6 at the Charleston campus of the College of Southern Nevada, when the contract is expected to be approved.
Sanford recently completed his fourth and best season at UNLV. After three successive three-victory seasons, Sanford guided the Rebels to a 5-7 record last fall. It was the Rebels’ best mark since going 6-6 in 2003.
The highlight was a 23-20 overtime victory at then-No. 15 Arizona State, but the season ended with a crushing 42-21 loss at San Diego State that cost the Rebels any shot at a bowl.
However, Hamrick saw enough improvement to warrant an extension, which in addition to a vote of confidence removes the issue of Sanford’s future when talking to recruits.
Sanford and his staff have capitalized by putting together their best recruiting class. UNLV has landed six three-star prospects according to Rivals.com and three according to Scout.com.
Both Web sites rank the Rebels fourth in the Mountain West Conference behind powers Brigham Young, Texas Christian and Utah.