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$500K for a national title? A look at UVU hoops coach Mark Pope's new contract

$500K for a national title? A look at UVU hoops coach Mark Pope's new contract

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News, File)

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OREM — Utah Valley University announced it had signed Mark Pope, its men’s basketball head coach, to a six-year extension through 2023-2024 on June 7.

Pope is 52-46 since taking the helm of the program in 2015. He’s 22-20 in Western Athletic Conference play.

"We were lucky to get him on round one, and we’re even luckier to keep him in a way that he is thrilled about and we are all about," said university president Matthew Holland on June 7. Holland is stepping down this summer at UVU to become a mission president for the LDS Church in North Carolina.

While UVU officials touted extending Pope to a new deal, details of the deal weren’t made public. KSL made a records request on June 11 and received a copy of the contract through that request Monday.

Here's what the contract details:

Pope’s baseline deal is worth $1.275 million over the six-year period, starting at $200,000 for the upcoming season and increasing $5,000 each year until it’s at $225,000 heading into the 2023 season.

The university also agreed to pay for a vehicle, his phone, at least 10 season tickets, annual membership to a Riverside Country Club in Provo and travel and lodging for Pope to travel to the men’s basketball Final Four each year. Each of those agreements isn’t uncommon from the typical deals in college athletics.

Pope also receives additional compensation “an amount not to exceed $25,000” for postgame radio and TV interviews and additional compensation for “directly securing a minimum of $150,000 in guarantee games” scheduled by Oct. 1 of each year. A clause in the deal says he can distribute that money to assistant coaches with the “appropriate approvals” if the coach secures more than $150,000 in those games.

These games, also known as “buy games,” a bigger revenue basketball program pays a much smaller revenue program for a nonconference game typically at the start of a season. UVU notably played Kentucky and Duke on back-to-back nights last year to open the start of that season. Pope can receive an additional $5,000 for a win in one of those games.

However, Pope’s deal comes with several other incentives that could increase the amount he receives from the university. These incentives range from $5,000 for a team GPA of 3.0 or higher for the school year to $500,000 if the university won the men’s basketball national championship.

Pope will receive $20,000 if his team wins the Western Athletic Conference title game and advances to the NCAA tournament, $25,000 for an at-large invitation to the tournament, $10,000 for each win in the first three rounds of the tournament and $250,000 for a Final Four appearance.

Other postseason invites, such as the CBI, CIT and NIT, and wins there also result in a bonus. An NIT invitation comes with a $15,000 bonus and $10,000 per win, whereas the other tournaments come with a $5,000 incentive for an invitation and $5,000 for each win.


He could also receive $100,000 if was named national coach of the year, $20,000 for a region or district coach of the year and another $20,000 if he’s named Western Athletic Conference coach of the year — though none of those are cumulative and only the highest award would be recognized, according to the deal. There’s also a $10,000 bonus for a 20-win regular season and an additional $10,000 for a regular season title.

Pope could also earn upwards of $20,000 if 1,000 season tickets are sold, according to the contract. He receives $7,500 if the team has a combined 3.2 GPA or $10,000 for a combined team GPA of 3.4.

The contract does note the university “may reduce or eliminate Coach’s incentive compensation if Coach runs a budget deficit or mismanages allocated budget or any other funds.”

The contract continues to note the university must pay Pope the remainder of his pay and benefits throughout the remainder of the deal if he were terminated without cause, but that does not apply if he were fired for cause.

Pope's contract officially goes into effect on July 1.


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