University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst were rewarded on Friday with pay raises and one-year extensions on their contracts, which should help keep in place two of the key components to the Badgers' recent success.
The UW Board of Regents approved the amended employment agreements in a closed session.
Bielema's total compensation package increases to $2.5 million in the first year of the new deal from $1.7 million. His base salary of $400,000 remains the same, but the amount he gets in program revenue and gift funds will increase.
He will receive $2.1 million from gift funds and program revenue in 2011-2012 and it will increase $100,000 for each of the following years in the five-year deal, which now runs through Jan. 31, 2016.
Bielema has a 49-16 (.754) record in five seasons. The Badgers finished 11-2 last season and won a share of their first Big Ten Conference championship since 1999 but lost to Texas Christian 21-19 in the Rose Bowl. The team also had the highest grade-point average on record for the fall term.
"Bret has set a high standard for the football program, on the field and in the classroom," UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a statement. "During his five years as our coach, he has been a Big Ten Coach of the Year (in 2006), averaged nearly 10 wins per season, won a Big Ten championship and overseen a program that has performed remarkably well on the academic side. It is important to compensate Bret in an appropriate manner."
UW Chancellor Biddy Martin said the raises are "a way of avoiding departures that would then put us in a position to spend a lot more to recruit new coaches."
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Ohio State's Jim Tressel and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz are the highest-paid football coaches in the Big Ten. Tressel made $3.89 million last season and Ferentz made $3.78 million. Alabama's Nick Saban topped all college football coaches at just less than $6 million."I'm very thankful for the incredible support of Chancellor Martin, the university administration, the regents, the athletic board and our director of athletics," Bielema said in a statement. "I'm proud of what our program has accomplished, but I don't want us to rest on our laurels. I'm anxious for spring practice to begin so we can start building toward the 2011 season."
Chryst's compensation will increase to $405,000 from $305,000 and grow by an additional $100,000 per year through Jan. 31, 2016. He also has a five-year annuity, which went into effect in 2007 and will pay him $250,000 once he finishes the 2011 season.
Chryst is one of two remaining coaches — along with offensive line coach Bob Bostad — from Bielema's original staff in 2006 and the architect of some of the best offenses in school history.
The Badgers set numerous offensive records last season, including school records for total points (539), scoring average (41.5) and rushing touchdowns (48), the last of which also tied a Big Ten record.
Chryst has had numerous chances to leave over the years. He interviewed the day after the Rose Bowl to be the offensive coordinator at Texas and is believed to have been offered the job, but turned it down.
Alvarez previously said two NFL teams, Dallas and San Francisco, also asked for permission to speak to Chryst after the season about openings on their staffs.