LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas has rewarded Razorbacks men’s basketball head coach Eric Musselman for leading the program to a historic season by announcing on Wednesday via press release a new 5-year contract that will pay him $20 million, or $4 million per year, through April 30, 2026.
The new five-year agreement will run from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2026 and includes the potential for a pair of one-year automatic agreement extensions (2027, 2028) based on Arkansas receiving bids to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament within the timeframe of the agreement.
Additional terms including buyouts and incentives have yet to be announced.
“As I mentioned during the course of what was a memorable men’s basketball season, the best way for any head coach to advocate for themselves and their program is to win games,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. “Coach Musselman earned this opportunity based on the tremendous progress that he and his coaching staff have made in the past two seasons, culminating with the most exciting season in the recent history of Razorback Basketball. Based on our ongoing dialogue, it is clear to me, Coach Musselman and I both share a desire to work together to ensure he remains the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Arkansas for the foreseeable future. I’m excited for the future of Razorback Basketball and look forward to seeing our program continue to progress under Coach Musselman’s leadership.”
Under the terms of the new agreement Coach Musselman will receive $4.0 million in annual compensation, with additional compensation and incentive payments available based on success in the SEC and NCAA Tournament as well as longevity in the position.
“Arkansas is one of the premier programs in the nation and my family and I are ecstatic to be here,” Musselman said. “I am grateful for the commitment the University is making to me, my family and the future of our basketball program. I have tremendous pride in being a Razorback and it is an honor to represent the state of Arkansas. Our staff remains focused on winning basketball games and building our roster for the future. We look forward to continuing to build on the foundation we have established in our first two seasons in an effort to achieve even greater success for our program, our University and Razorback fans everywhere.”
Musselman, who came to Arkansas in early April 2019, is coming off a 2020-21 season in which he coached the Hogs to two firsts in the last 26 years — their first NCAA tournament Elite Eight appearance and a national Top 10 ranking. In two seasons at Arkansas, Musselman has a 45-19 overall record, including a 22-16 mark against SEC teams and a 3-1 record in NCAAT games.
Mentioned as a candidate for several high-major head coaching jobs that came open in the past several weeks, Musselman was most recently identified as a potential candidate to replace the terminated Sean Miller at Arizona.
But growing speculation during the weekend about Musselman and the Arizona job was put to bed early Monday evening by a source who told Hogville.net that Musselman had agreed to terms to remain at Arkansas while at the home of Yurachek. Roughly two hours later, Yurachek tweeted the following: “Sleep well Arkansas! Razorbacks men’s basketball in good hands.” The attached photo below accompanied the tweet.
Hired away from Nevada by Yurachek on April 7, 2019, Musselman signed a 5-year contract with Arkansas that paid him $2.5 million dollars per year, plus incentives. The original contract ran through April 30, 2024, with the term to be extended by one year if the Razorbacks made the NCAA tournament. His annual compensation was to be increased by $100,000 (not to exceed a total increase of $200,000 over the term of the contract) if Arkansas was to compete in the NCAA tournament. His additional incentive-based income included $100,000 for winning the SEC regular season championship; $100,000 for winning the SEC tournament; $25,000 for winning SEC Coach of the Year; $50,000 for winning National Coach of the Year; $100,000 for an NCAA tournament appearance; $250,000 for a Sweet 16 appearance; $350,000 for a Final Four appearance; $500,000 for winning the national championship; $25,000 for graduating 90% or more of student-athletes in the academic year in which they completed their eligibility; and $12,500 for graduating 80% to 89% of student-athletes in the academic year in which they completed their eligibility.
His original contract also contained a provision that if Arkansas were to fire him, Musselman would receive 70% of his remaining annual compensation from the effective date of his termination to the end of the contract term. Musselman’s original contract stipulated that if he chose to leave Arkansas, he wouldn’t accept a job in any coaching capacity with any other SEC school prior to the end of his contract term in April 2024 and any mutually agreed-upon extensions of the contract term. It also included an agreement that if Musselman left Arkansas, neither he nor anyone acting on his behalf would try to recruit any prospective student-athlete who was previously contacted or recruited by Arkansas for one year after Musselman’s contract was terminated, unless his new school previously recruited that student-athlete.
The original deal also stipulated that if Musselman left Arkansas, he would owe the school the following liquidated damages: $5 million through April 30, 2021; $1.5 million from May 1, 2021, through April 30, 2022; $1 million from May 1, 2022, through April 30, 2024; and $750,000 from May 1, 2024, through the end date of any extensions.