Coaches contracts and amendments
The timing of Charlie Baggett's and Eric Russell's respective departures will prevent Tennessee from collecting any sort of buyout money from the former assistant coaches.
How Baggett's is officially worded or negotiated will determine whether or not UT owes the wide receiver guru anything through 2012.
According to contracts obtained Monday by the News Sentinel, Baggett would have owed UT $187,500 had he terminated his employment before Dec. 1 and Russell would have owed $100,000 before the same date.
The News Sentinel requested all of the assistant coaches' contracts, many of which were amended throughout the offseason, in June. UT was unable to provide contracts for defensive line coach Lance Thompson and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon.
A source confirmed to the News Sentinel on Sunday that Russell had agreed to join new coach Mike Leach's staff at Washington State, though neither program has confirmed it. Russell's picture and biography were removed from UT's website Monday.
Baggett's exit was made official last Tuesday, the same day UT announced the hiring of running backs coach Jay Graham, but it was not specified whether he or UT was instigating the change. Sources briefed on the situation indicated it was the 58-year-old Baggett's decision to step down and that he planned to retire.
If that's the case, UT owes Baggett nothing and, because the departure was announced after Dec. 1, Baggett owes UT the same. But if Baggett was nudged out the door, UT would owe him the remaining salary left on his contract, which was set to end Dec. 31, 2012.
Baggett's contract does not include any mention of what were to happen if he retired.
Per an amendment to his contract, which was signed by chancellor Jimmy Cheek on May 2, Baggett would be owed equal, monthly payments of the sum of his base pay ($275,000 annually) and his "broadcast/endorsement pay" ($125,000 in 2011; $150,000 in 2012) through the duration of the deal if he were terminated. In his original contract, Baggett was only to be owed equal, monthly payments of his base salary.
In that situation, Baggett is "required to use his reasonable best efforts to mitigate the University's buy-out payment" to "obtain another comparable employment position." If Baggett obtained that comparable position, the amount of his monthly buyout payments from UT would be reduced "dollar-for-dollar" by the amount of his new average monthly income.
Around the same time Baggett had his contract amended, Russell, UT's tight ends/special teams coach for the past two years, had his original deal extended from the end of 2011 to 2012. Unchanged, though, was the date in which Russell would owe UT buyout money for leaving on his own volition.
Russell made $200,000 in 2010 and $250,000 in 2011. He was set to make $275,000 in 2012.
Also learned from the documents:
Shortly after defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox pulled his name out of the running for the same title at Texas last December, he not only re-negotiated a contract that was longer and paid him more money, but one that provided him with more job security.
If Wilcox were to be fired before March 1, 2012, UT would owe him $1 million. His original contract stipulated that he be owed $1 million if fired before March 1, 2011, and $500,000 before March 1, 2012.
If Wilcox were to be fired after that date but before the end of his deal, which runs through Dec. 31, 2013 — one year longer than he initially agreed to in 2010 — he would be owed equal, monthly payments of the sum of his base pay ($275,000) and his "broadcast/endorsement" pay ($425,000 in 2011; $475,000 in 2012; $525,000 in 2013) through the duration of the contract.
Wilcox, whose name has been linked in the media to a number of job openings — including the vacant head coach position at Arizona State — does not owe UT anything if he leaves for another job. His original contract stipulated that he owe the school $300,000 if he terminated the deal before Dec. 1, 2011— with the exception of leaving because he obtained a Division I head coaching position — but that clause was completely wiped out when it was amended in August.
Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand made $475,000 in 2011 but is set to earn $375,000 in 2012. When Hiestand joined the Vols in 2010, his salary was partially supplemented by the Chicago Bears, his former employer. UT paid Hiestand $200,000 in 2010 but covered all of the tab this year.
Hiestand's base salary of $275,000 will remain the same in 2012, but his "broadcast/endorsement pay" drops from $200,000 to $100,000.
In August, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's contract was extended through 2013. He made $525,000 in 2011 and is scheduled to make $550,000 in 2012 and $600,000 in 2013.
Like Wilcox, Chaney would be owed $1 million if fired before March 1, 2012. The buyout stipulated in his original contract that he be paid the monthy rate of his base pay (275,000) times the remaining months of the contract in two installments.
Chaney does not owe UT anything if he leaves for another job.
Quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw — who is expected to move to wide receivers coach, according to sources — and secondary coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph each had their contracts extended through 2012 during the offseason.
Joseph made $225,000 in 2011 and is scheduled to make $250,000 in 2012. Hinshaw made $150,000 in 2011 and is scheduled to make $175,000 next year.