Bielema Joins The $4 Million Club

Arkansas releases details Saturday of head football coach Bret Bielema's contract extension through 2020 and a raise that makes him the ninth coach in the SEC to arrive at the $4 million per year mark.

For a massive turnaround to end the season and a Top 25 recruiting class just landed that should continue the rebuild, Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema has been rewarded by joining the $4 million club.

Bielema’s contract has been extended two years through 2020 and he was given a raise from $3.2 million to $4 million in the 2015 season with an additional $100,000 raise in each of the following seasons on the deal.

Bielema – whose contract has a no-compete clause with all other SEC schools - will also be eligible for athletic and academic achievement incentives totaling up to an additional $1 million per year.

“Coach Bret Bielema is not only one of the best college football coaches in the nation, he is an outstanding leader,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “What Coach Bielema and his coaching staff have done for our young men, on and off the field, is something that has dramatically changed the course of our program and most importantly positively impacted the lives of our football student-athletes.

“He is building a championship program in a way that all Arkansans can be proud of,” Long added. “We look forward to his continued leadership of our football program and the many successes yet to come.”

Bielema is 10-15 overall and 2-14 in SEC play in his first two seasons at Arkansas, but his team blanked No. 17 LSU (17-0) and No. 8 Ole Miss (30-0), pushed SEC Eastern Division champ Missouri to the write and then routed Texas 31-7 in the Texas Bowl in Houston.

He becomes the ninth coach in the SEC to top the $4 million mark – his average salary will be $4.25 million over the next six years - with all seven coaches in the SEC Western Division now at or above the mark with recent contract developments.

“Every day since we arrived in Fayetteville, we have worked with our coaches and student-athletes on building something special here at the University of Arkansas,” Bielema said. “We have assembled another great staff and recruiting class to help us continue to move forward in the SEC West.

“My wife and I love Arkansas and the tremendous support the Razorbacks receive throughout the entire state,” Bielena added. “We are also appreciative of the unwavering support of Chancellor (Dave) Gearhart, Jeff Long and the entire Razorback nation as we all work together to give Arkansas something it has never had in the most competitive conference in the nation.”

The contract includes a buyout of $15.4 million to Bielema if he is fired in the next three years with the buyout reducing to $11.7 million in 2018, $7.9 million in 2019 and $4 million in 2020.

If Bielema were to leave for another job, he would owe Arkansas $4 million in 2015 with that buyout dropping $1 million in each of the following three seasons.

His buyout would then be just $500,000 in 2019 and $250,000 in 2020.

Per Saturday Down South, here is a list of the current SEC head coach salaries:

• Nick Saban, Alabama — $7.1 million

• Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M — $5 million

• Les Miles, LSU — $4.3 million

• Gus Malzahn, Auburn — $4.1 million

• Bret Bielema, Arkansas — $4 million

• Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss — $4 million

• Steve Spurrier, South Carolina — $4 million

• Dan Mullen, Mississippi St. — $4 million

• Mark Richt, Georgia — $4 million

• Butch Jones, Tennessee — $3.6 million

• Mark Stoops, Kentucky — $3.6 million

• Jim McElwain, Florida — $3.5 million

• Gary Pinkel, Mizzou — $3.4 million

• Derek Mason, Vanderbilt — Private

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