MHERST - A good year on the court, in the classroom and in the stands for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team could reap considerable financial rewards for new coach Travis Ford. He could earn over $600,000 a season if he reaches bonuses based on academics, tickets sales and basketball success.
Ford's base salary is $200,000 and he is guaranteed an additional $140,000 on top of that in non-performance based contract clauses. He receives $120,000 combined for his speaking fees and appearances on his radio and television shows. He also gets $20,000 in lieu of a car allowance and country club expenses which are common in contracts for coaches.
In addition, Ford's five-year contract calls for a $10,000 bonus for winning a regular season Atlantic 10 title and $25,000 for making it to the NCAA Tournament. Every round UMass advances in the NCAA Tournament is worth another $10,000.
The Minutemen haven't won the conference championship since 1996 or made the NCAA Tournament field of 64 since 1998.
Ford also gains financially if more people show up at the Mullins Center, which would likely result from success on the court. He gets 15 percent of all regular-season ticket revenue at home games, a figure that's contractually guaranteed to be at least $100,000 (this year that translates into an average of just over 3,000 paying adult fans per game) and no more than $200,000.
Ford also receives 20 percent of the guarantee money which UMass receives for playing nonconference road games, which amounts to $10,000 (of UMass' $50,000) for the 2005-06 season.
Ford also has financial incentives to keep his team successful in the classroom. He receives a $10,000 bonus for any year his players' cumulative grade point average is at or above 2.6.
On top of the annual incentives, Ford receives a one-time $10,000 payment for a life insurance policy and he would get an additional $50,000 if he completes the full five seasons of his deal.
If Ford chooses to leave UMass within the first four years of his contract, he is required to pay the university $200,000. If he leaves after four years, he would pay $100,000. If UMass chooses to terminate the contract early, Ford would be paid his base salary and 50 percent of the nonperformance bonuses.
Ford is permitted to conduct basketball camps and clinics at UMass while he is the coach. He pays the university 3 percent of any revenue that they earn.
Ford's contract is similar to those given to former UMass coaches Bruiser Flint and Steve Lappas, adjusted for inflation.
Ford, 35, was hired in March from Eastern Kentucky University where he coached for five years. Last season he led the Colonels to a 22-9 record and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1979.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.