Idaho Vandals

Idaho’s Petrino will be Big Sky football’s highest-paid coach; SI.com features Vandals

Idaho football coach Paul Petrino led the Vandals to nine wins last season, including a victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He was rewarded with a contract extension Thursday.
Idaho football coach Paul Petrino led the Vandals to nine wins last season, including a victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He was rewarded with a contract extension Thursday. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

If University of Idaho football fans were worried coach Paul Petrino might leave the program when it drops from the FBS to FCS level in 2018, they received a bit of reassurance Thursday.

The Idaho State Board of Education approved contract extensions for Petrino and men’s basketball coach Don Verlin.

Petrino’s new contract with a base salary of $446,214.40 will make him the highest-paid football coach in the Big Sky Conference. The contract runs through June 30, 2022, and Petrino will earn a one-year extension if he is not in breach of the contract by July 1, 2018. The contract also includes a one-year extension for each season with eight or more wins.

UC Davis’ Dan Hawkins, a former Boise State coach, is the highest-paid Big Sky football coach this season at $262,500, according to The Spokesman-Review.

“Coach Petrino has undoubtedly raised the standard for our football program, on and off the field,” Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear said. “Under his guidance, our student-athletes can expect to win, expect to graduate and expect to leave here as better men. I know Paul is the right person for this job and this contract exemplifies our commitment to him.”

Petrino’s new contract also includes incentives for team GPA and APR benchmarks and performance incentives such as $10,000 for each win over an FBS team and $5,000 for a conference championship. Those incentives could increase his salary to as much as $576,014.40 per year.

On the same day he received a contract extension, Petrino’s football team was featured in a Sports Illustrated story detailing how Petrino helped rebuild the program just in time for a move down to the FCS.

Verlin’s new contract has a base salary of $245,432 for the 2017-18 season with incentives that could bring that total to $325,960. His base salary will increase automatically by 4 percent each year through the end of the contract on June 30, 2021.

Last week, the Idaho men were picked to win the Big Sky in both the preseason media and coaches’ polls.

“Coach Verlin has been a steady leader for our men’s basketball program and our department,” Spear said. “He is a proven winner whose best days are still ahead. We feel very fortunate to have Don under contract into what would be his third decade with the Vandals.”

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts

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