Kansas football coach Lance Leipold’s new contract runs through 2029 and more than doubles his total compensation

photo by: Nick Krug/Journal-World

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks get ready to take the field against Tennessee Tech on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The new contract signed by Kansas football coach Lance Leipold is slated to keep him in Lawrence through the 2029 season and will more than double the salary he agreed to when he signed his initial six-year deal with KU in 2021.

There are buyouts for both the university and Leipold, should either party want out early. But those figures, like the number of years and total compensation also are higher than outlined in his initial contract.

In all, Leipold’s new contract with Kansas will pay him roughly $5 million per year for the next seven years, with incentives in place that could push the total beyond $35 million. The new deal includes a one-time $750,000 signing bonus to be paid to Leipold in one lump sum by the end of the year.

His base salary will be $500,000 and he will receive $4.5 million annually for “professional services payment,” with the PSP package increasing by $100,000 annually for the life of the contract.

In his initial contract with Kansas, a six-year deal signed in the spring of 2021, Leipold was slated to make $16.5 million total and an average of $2.75 million. That number grew to $2.86 million at the start of the 2022 season, when KU announced a one-year extension for Leipold.

The new contract, which voids the previous deal and locks him in for longer, was signed by Leipold and KU Athletic Director Travis Goff on Nov. 25 and by Leipold’s agent and KU Chancellor Douglas Girod on Monday.

“This new contract, along with the upcoming investment in our facilities, are a direct reflection of our profound commitment to building a first-class football program – one that will be a point of pride for all Jayhawks for years to come,” Goff said in a news release announcing the contract.

Goff called Leipold the “ideal fit for KU” and added that that has been reinforced every single day since his arrival. In just his second year with the program, Leipold led Kansas to a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility for the first time since the 2008 season.

That included three consecutive sellouts earlier this season, a temporary return to the national rankings and bringing ESPN’s College GameDay to town for the first time in KU football history.

“I am very thankful for Chancellor Girod and Travis Goff and their commitment to this program and our entire staff,” Leipold said in the release. “My wife Kelly and I couldn’t be more excited to know we are going to be staying in Lawrence for a very long time. … We are very proud of the progress the program has made over the last 18 months and even more excited about what the future holds as we continue to build a program that will make Jayhawk fans everywhere proud.”


Signing Leipold to a longer and more lucrative contract is part of KU’s ongoing efforts to show a strong commitment to rebuilding the football program in every aspect.

To that end, the new contract indicates that, beginning in April of 2025, Leipold and KU administrators will meet “in good faith” to evaluate whether the salary pool for Leipold’s contract and that of his assistant coaches is in the top half of the Big 12 Conference. If it is not, the contract states that KU will increase the salaries to ensure that KU’s coaches are paid in the top half of the conference.

KU also has agreed to provide Leipold with a $7.5 million salary pool for Leipold’s assistant coaches and staff members, an amount that also will increase by $100,000 annually.

The contract also includes specific language for KU to make “good faith efforts” regarding the school’s name, image and likeness efforts for football, citing aspirations to achieve “a nationally competitive (NIL) program by engaging boosters and supporters in a manner consistent with applicable laws and regulations.”

The NIL piece of Kansas football’s future, like the stadium plans that were announced in October, have been major priorities of Leipold’s throughout his first two seasons in charge of the program.

Leipold’s new contract also shows an increased commitment from KU in the way of stadium and facilities renovations and improvements.

Under the termination by head coach section, the contract states that the parties agree that if KU has not made “meaningful and substantial progress toward renovating the Anderson Family Football Complex by July 1, 2023,” Leipold has the right to terminate the contract without penalty.

In addition, if “meaningful and substantial progress” toward stadium renovations has not begun by Dec. 15, 2023, Leipld also has the right to terminate the contract without penalty.

According the contract, “meaningful and substantial” is defined as renovations or construction having “commenced.”

As for the rest of the buyouts, if Leipold is fired for cause, he will be owed only what his contract stipulates up to the time of termination.

If he is fired without cause, he would be owed 80% of what remains on the contract to be paid within 12 months or the end of the contract, whichever is shorter. Under the initial contract, KU would have been on the hook for 70%.

If Leipold elects to terminate the contract — say for another job elsewhere — KU is now more protected than before.

Leipold will owe KU $12.5 million if he terminates the deal before April 30, 2023. The number drops to $6 million starting on April 30, 2024 and goes down by a million per year through May 1, 2028, when he would owe KU $1 million to leave.

His initial contract stated that he owed KU $6 million to leave in 2021, $5 million in 2022, $4 million in 2023, $3 million in 2024, $2 million in 2025 and $1 million in 2026.

So, the new contract doubles Leipold’s buyout penalty owed to KU starting in 2024.

The new contract also indicates that Leipold’s buyout would be cut in half if he elected to leave in the event that Goff is no longer the AD at KU.

“We are thrilled that Coach Leipold will be leading our football program for years to come,” Girod said in the news release Tuesday. “Since joining us, Coach Leipold has confirmed that he is among the nation’s best coaches, program builders and leaders, and he is clearly equipped to succeed in the new world of college athletics. Additionally, Coach Leipold has shown tremendous commitment to the university and the community beyond football, and he recognizes the special role his team can play in our academic mission, student recruitment and alumni engagement. For all these reasons, he is exactly the right fit for KU, and we look forward to seeing him in crimson and blue in the years ahead.”


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