Petrino inks new long-term deal

The University of Louisville announced at a Thursday morning press conference that it had agreed to a new lenghty contract with head football coach Bobby Petrino. The new 10-year deal, which extends through the 2015 season, makes Petrino one of the top paid coaches in the country.

Bobby Petrino inkied a new 10-year deal that would keep him at the University of Louisville through the 2015 season.

Petrino, who has guided the Louisville football team to a 29-8 record in three years, also will receive a salary increase, and achievement and completion bonuses as part of this new agreement.

"Bobby Petrino is one of the finest football coaches in the nation and we feel the future is so bright for this program," Athletic Director Tom Jurich said. "I felt it was important to get him near the top nationally in terms of compensation with some of the top coaches in the country. I love stability and this puts him in position to be here for a very long time."

Petrino sounded an appreciative tone after the U of L Athletic Association Board of Directors approved the deal Thursday morning.

"I would like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Ramsey and Tom Jurich for their commitment to the University of Louisville, the Cardinal football program and to me and my family," said Petrino.

According to his new contract, Petrino will receive a base salary of $800,000 in 2006-07, and would receive $1.3 million in the final year of the deal. Petrino will also receive an additional $800,000 in 2006-07, up to $1.3 million in the contracts final year, for participation in public relations, fund-raising, facilities development, pre- and post-game radio programming and one weekly radio and television "coaches show."

Petrino's new contract is also loaded with several performance bonuses. Petrino will receive $25,000 for winning the Big East title; $25,000 for a Top 25 finish in either major national poll; $50,000 for a Top 10 finish; $200,000 for playing in a BCS bowl game; And additional $50,000 for playing in the national title game and $100,000 for winning the national championship.

"This is a contract that will put Bobby in the upper echelon in college football," said Jurich.

Petrino's new contract includes a
$1 million buy-out clause.

Petrino's new contract includes a sizable incentive if he is still actively employed at Louisville on July 1, 2007. If Petrino is the coach at U of L on that date, he'll receive a lump sum payment of a million dollars.

"It's a great thing for me and my family," Petrino said. "Now we can say Louisville is our home."

The length of the deal, according to U of L officials, is unprecedented for any coach since Jurich took over the Cardinals athletic program in 1997. Jurich said the lengthy contract was Petrino's idea.

"The longevity of the deal was Bobby's idea," Jurich said.

Petrino's new contact also includes a hefty buy-out clause. The contract states: "If…(Petrino) terminates this..contract in order to accept an NCAA Division 1 head coaching position or a National Football League coaching position, (Petrino) shall pay (U of L) … the amount of" $1,000,000 if the termination occurs July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2011; $750,000 if the termination occurs July 1, 20011 through June 30, 2012….."

According to Jurich, it was Petrino's idea to include the buy-out clause in his new deal.

"The buyout was his idea," Jurich said. "I didn't feel like we needed it."

Hit hard by rival recruiters the past few years who tell prospects that Petrino won't be at U of L for the long term, Petrino said this agreement, and it's length, is an important tool for him to use when he goes out on the recruiting trail.

"It's important for players that are here now and recruits to know that I'm going to be here," Petrino said. "We wanted to make a statement with this deal. I want everyone to know that I'm going to be here at U of L."

U of L President James Ramsey echoed Petrino's sentiments.

"Stability is important in our athletic programs and this contract makes a huge statement," he said. "Bobby has all the right values and he's committed to our kids. He plays by the rules and always fields a competitive team on the field."

"We have one of the top five coaches in the country and we want him to stay right here," Ramsey added.

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