Leipold gets raise as part of new contract

Kansas coach Lance Leipold holds up the trophy after the team's 49-36 win over UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Updated 1:15 p.m. Wednesday:

Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said in November that he wanted Lance Leipold to coach at Kansas “until the wheels fall off.”

KU Athletics has taken another significant step toward bringing that goal to fruition, announcing Wednesday that Leipold has agreed to a new contract. The contract has an average annual value of more than $7 million, increasing his salary from $5 million, the number agreed on in his previous November 2022 deal.

It awards Leipold a signing bonus of $1 million while providing him an initial salary of $6.5 million in the first full year of the contract (from May 1, 2024, to April 30, 2025) that will escalate to $7.25 million by the end of the deal. Those numbers are derived from a base annual payment of $500,000, retention bonuses of $500,000 per year (new to this contract) and payments for professional services and royalties that steadily increase between the contract’s effective date of Dec. 1, 2023, and its conclusion on April 30, 2030.

The contract, which does not provide an extension from the November 2022 agreement, follows a season in which Leipold delivered KU its first bowl win since 2008. He has led the Jayhawks to back-to-back bowl appearances for just the second time in school history.

On the back of that momentum, the program is also engineering comprehensive renovations to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium as part of KU’s Gateway District project.

“Today’s announcement is an indicator of two absolute truths surrounding Kansas Football – Lance Leipold is among the very best coaches and leaders in the country and the University of Kansas continues to be unwavering in its commitment to building a championship-caliber football program for the long haul,” Goff said in a press release. “Since Lance and his staff arrived in Lawrence, our program has seen exponential growth in every facet both on and off the field. Winning nine games and earning a bowl trophy is an incredible accomplishment, but we are equally proud of the team for earning the highest grade point average in program history. Every aspect of our program is on an unprecedented positive trajectory, and we are eager to continue this prodigious build with Lance.”

Leipold previously served as a head coach at NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2007 to 2014 and at Buffalo from 2015 to 2020 before joining KU late in the spring of 2021. So far, he has accumulated an overall record of 17-21 in three seasons in Lawrence, exceeding the 16 total wins KU had in the nine years prior to his arrival.

“We are incredibly proud of what our football program has accomplished over the first three seasons in Lawrence, and look forward to the continued challenge of bringing a consistent winner and championship home to the University of Kansas,” Leipold said. “With the alignment that exists between Chancellor (Douglas) Girod, Travis Goff and Kansas Football, it gives us great confidence in the future of the Jayhawk program, and we are thankful and humbled by the support of the University and Kansas Jayhawk fans everywhere.”

The contract news comes after another offseason that saw Leipold linked to various openings at prestigious programs, even as throughout the 2023 season, he had reiterated his desire to finish his coaching career at KU. Most notably, speculation reached a fever pitch in mid-January when Kalen DeBoer left Washington for Alabama and reports began to emerge, particularly on Jan. 14, that Leipold was the top candidate for the Huskies.

Just 10 minutes after a report from FootballScoop called him “the focus” of UW’s search, Leipold posted on X, “The guys come back to campus tomorrow. Can’t wait to get back to work with them in ’24!! Rock Chalk!”

The raise should elevate Leipold to the top 20 highest-paid coaches in the country, as measured by a USA Today database of coaching salaries.

He will also have a chance to spread some funding around to his staff, as the contract provides $6 million for assistant coaches’ salaries and $2.9 million for non-coaching football employees in the first year. Both totals are slated to increase year over year.

Leipold and KU Athletics, as part of the deal, agree to meet on or around April 1, 2026, to evaluate whether these financial figures and Leipold’s own salary remain in the top half of the Big 12 Conference, and to increase them if they do not.


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