Just two days before the desired goal, Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino signed a contract extension that keeps him locked up until 2010.
Mangino gets a significant raise - almost triple his earlier pay - while moving from the lowest-paid coach in the Big 12 Conference to roughly the fifth highest-paid. He will make a guaranteed $1.5 million per year, with incentives in place to boost it even higher.
Mangino and athletic director Lew Perkins were eager to wrap up negotiations before KU's season opener on Saturday. Talks initially began in the spring.
"I know now that he'll be here for nine years," Perkins said Thursday. "He's been here four and the new contract is a five-year deal. One of the things that is really important is stability and continuity."
Mangino's contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006, which means he'll get a lump sum for all the extra money he didn't get in the last eight months. The deal expires Dec. 31, 2010.
In four years, Mangino has a 19-29 record, but has taken KU to two bowl games and made undeniable strides in building the program to a competitive level. His guaranteed money was just more than $600,000 under his old contract, which was to expire on Dec. 31, 2008.
Mangino's base salary will be $220,000, and another $1.28 million for "professional services rendered." Incentives, such as winning the national title or the Big 12 Conference championship, could add to his income. If he hits all of them, he could get as much as an extra $650,000 in a given year.
Both Mangino and Perkins admitted the process took longer than expected, but neither were dissatisfied with the final outcome.
"I wouldn't use the term difficult at all," Mangino said of the negotiations. "Both parties, we wanted to make sure it was right. They have an obligation to our fan base and our constituents to make sure every thing is right."