The COVID-19 pandemic was as big a headache to the Colorado men’s basketball team as any other program out there, yet it also coincided with one of the most successful runs in the Buffaloes’ history.
The Buffs were on the verge of receiving an NCAA Tournament bid when the 2020 tournament was canceled at the start of the pandemic shutdown more than a year ago. CU returned to post its best finish in league play since joining the Pac-12, reaching the conference championship game before routing Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Buffs also have signed a 2021 recruiting class ranked 11th in the nation, per 274Sports.com.
For all that work, head coach Tad Boyle is getting a raise.
On Thursday, CU’s Board of Regents approved new terms for the latest version of Boyle’s perpetual five-year contract, which features an annual base and supplemental salary of $2.425 million. That marks a raise of $625,000 from the financial terms Boyle has worked under the past two years.
The Board of Regents also approved a three-year contract extension and raise for CU women’s basketball coach JR Payne. Payne, who has been at CU for five seasons, has a new deal that will run through the 2025-26 season with an annual base/supplemental salary of roughly $417,500. Her previous contract was set to expire after the 2022-23 season at about $354,200 in base and supplemental salary.
While Boyle’s base salary will actually drop from $350,000 to $300,000, he will see a significant increase in several of the supplemental salary categories. That includes “promotion and fundraising” (increasing from $375,000 to $625,000) and “sponsorship support” (increasing from $375,000 to $625,000), in addition to a new supplemental category of “community relations and outreach” that will pay $220,000 annually.
The structure and totals for Boyle’s incentive bonuses remains largely the same, although the bonuses for 15 regular season wins ($30,000) and 17 regular season wins ($20,000) have been eliminated. This past season, Boyle earned $290,000 in incentive bonuses, but that exact same performance next season would net $240,000, with the win-total incentives beginning at 19 regular season wins.
For Payne, CU added incentives for reaching 19 regular season wins ($30,000) and 21 regular season wins ($30,000) to her deal. Incentives for winning a Pac-12 regular season or tournament title are still included, but the values have been increased. The incentive for being named Pac-12 coach of the year has also increased for Payne, to $25,000. Incentives for reaching each round of the NCAA Tournament remain, as well.
While the liquidated damages portion of Boyle’s contract remains unchanged, it has been updated in Payne’s deal. Under her previous contract, she would owe CU $250,000 for terminating the agreement at any time before it expired. Now, she would owe $300,000 for terminating the deal before April 30, 2023, and that drops to $150,000 if terminated between April 30, 2023, and April 30, 2025; and $50,000 if she terminates the deal in the final year of the contract.
As with his previous agreement, Boyle would owe CU $500,000 if he opts out of the contract by June 30 of the first two years of his deal (2022 and 2023). That sums dips to $250,000 if he opts out by June 30 of the next two years (2024 and 2025) and $100,000 thereafter.
Boyle and Payne, along with athletic director Rick George and football coach Karl Dorrell, operated under a 10 percent pay cut this past year as part of CU’s pandemic cutbacks. Boyle also declined his $105,000 bonus for reaching the NCAA Tournament that George offered to pay from the canceled 2020 tournament.
Boyle has led the Buffs to five NCAA Tournament appearances in 11 seasons, not including the all-but-secured bid that never materialized in 2020. He owns a career record of 233-143 (106-92 in conference) and is well on his way to topping Sox Walseth’s program record of 261 wins. Boyle’s winning percentage of .620 trails only Forrest Cox’s mark of .623.
Payne has gone 72-75 in her five seasons with the Buffs. CU had one of its best seasons in nearly a decade this past year, going 12-11 overall and reaching the quarterfinals of the Women’s NIT. CU had its best Pac-12 record (8-8, .500) since the 2012-13 season and returns most of its core players next season.
Brian Howell contributed to this report.