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Missouri's Contract With Frank Haith Makes It Tougher to Voluntarily Walk

Missouri learned a valuable lesson from its contract with former basketball coach Mike Anderson, which is reflected in the tougher buyout terms within the contract of new Tigers' hoops head Frank Haith.

Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith
Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith

University of Missouri officials learned a lot from the relative ease with which with former head basketball coach Mike Anderson was able to walk away from his contract with the Tigers, and the university has taken steps to prevent that from happening anytime soon with current coach Frank Haith.

In contract figures made public by Missouri school officials on Monday and reported by The Kansas City Star, Haith will make a guaranteed annual compensation of $1.5 million his first year in the position and an average compensation of $1.6 million annually over the five-year length of his contract. This would place the former Miami Hurricane coach around the middle of Big 12 coaches in the newly aligned 10-school conference in terms of annual compensation.

The more important financial figures in Haith's contract to Missouri and its fans, however, are the buyout terms. According to the contract details released by Missouri, the buyout amount in the first year would be $1.2 million, dropping to $1 million in the second year and $750,000 in the third year of the contract.

When Anderson chose in March to leave his coaching position at Missouri to take the same job at Arkansas, the buyout penalty to release him from his contract was $550,000. According to the terms of MU's contract with Haith, only in the fourth year would the amount of the buyout clause ($500,000) dip below what was owed to Missouri for Anderson's voluntary departure. Missouri athletic director Mike Alden indicated on Monday that Arkansas probably would less than the $550,000 that was in Anderson's contract because of the figure that was actually agreed to by the two schools.

Missouri officials obviously were not happy with what happened with Anderson, who reportedly was involved in contract extension talks with the university at the time of his decision to accept the offer from Arkansas, and this is reflected in the more restrictive terms of the contract negotiated with Haith. "They (the buyout figures) are significantly higher than the past," Alden said.

The information released by the Missouri athletic department also disclosed that the salaries for the assistant basketball coaches were being raised by $150,000 to $750,000. Missouri assistant coaches were paid $600,000 last season under Anderson.

"We want to make sure we have the flexibility to do that," Alden said. The Missouri athletic director said he believed the salary available for basketball staff would place the school in a very competitive financial position, probably somewhere in the top 20 to 25 in the nation.

Haith's first-year base salary is reported to be $350,000, with additional payments for apparel rights; TV, radio and public relations work; on-campus basketball camps and deferred annual compensation that bring the annual compensation total in excess of $1.5 million. The contract also includes 19 performance incentives that, if all were achieved, would total $825,000 and increase his annual compensation in his first year as the Tigers' head coach to $2.3 million.

Of note, Missouri had to pay the University of Miami some penalty money to free Haith from his former contract. That amount, $150,000, was far less than the compensatory amount Missouri will receive for Anderson, though.