Shaka Smart, talks to his player Prince Ibeh, right, after Smart was introduced as the new basketball coach at the University of Texas on Friday April 3, 2015, at the Frank Erwin Center. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Men's Basketball

Buyout money adds up for Texas athletics

Hiring Smart pushes Horns near $10 million mark to change major coaches.

Posted April 4th, 2015


How bad does Texas want to win? School officials will pay the $500,000 to buy out Shaka Smart’s contract from Virginia Commonwealth, pushing the grand total to almost $10 million in UT outflows just to change football and men’s basketball head coaches.

School officials came to terms with former coach Mack Brown on a $2.75 million severance package, with the payout structured over four years. Brown also received an additional $500,000 in 2014 to serve as special assistant to the president.

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson then paid $4.375 million to Louisville officials to buy out Charlie Strong’s contract with the Cardinals.


The UT System Board of Regents approved guaranteed multiyear contracts for Strong and all nine of his assistant coaches.

It was an unprecedented move in school history.

After his first season, Strong dismissed tight ends coach Bruce Chambers and receivers coach Les Koenning, leaving Texas on the hook for another year’s worth of salary for both. The two coaches were scheduled to receive $595,000 combined in guaranteed salary in 2015.

Former men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes is scheduled to receive $1.75 million, as per the terms of his buyout. Barnes will receive that money even though he’s already accepted a new job at Tennessee.

Smart’s contract includes a $500,000 buyout clause, which Patterson confirmed the school will pay.

None of this includes the approximately $600,000 that Oklahoma State officials believe they are due for offensive line coach Joe Wickline.

A lawsuit winding its way through the Oklahoma court system alleges Wickline violated the terms of his buyout agreement.

The American-Statesman reported in January that audited financial statements revealed Texas athletics lost $2.8 million during the 2013-14 academic year.

At the time, the department had $40 million in reserves, though.

Texas has since announced an overall six percent increase in football season ticket packages and is forcing donors to pay a separate charge for parking.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957.

Twitter: @BDavisAAS