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New Boise State football contract has big buyout

Bryan Harsin

Bryan Harsin

If new Boise State University football coach Bryan Harsin leaves for a new job within two years, he’ll hand over the $2 million in base compensation he’ll make during that time. The terms of Harsin’s deal, approved by the Idaho State Board of Education Dec. 19, includes a $2 million buyout if he leaves in the next two years, much higher than the $750,000 buyout former coach Chris Petersen owed Boise State when he left for the greener field of the University of Washington.

Harsin’s new contract includes base pay of $7.5 million over five years, starting out at $1 million for the next two years. Harsin, a former quarterback and coach for the Broncos, came back to Boise State after being the head coach at Arkansas State University. ASU gets a $1.75 million buyout for Harsin leaving, which Boise State is paying for Harsin.

Harsin’s base pay is lower than Petersen’s pay was at Boise State. The longtime coach, who led the team to two Bowl Championship Series game victories, earned more than $2 million a year based on a contract extension he signed in 2012.

Harsin will be the highest paid state employee, and the only state worker with a $1 million base salary, though athletics program revenues, not state funds, cover his contract.

The state board plans to approve a more detailed contract for Harsin by February. The agreement approved on Dec. 19 includes spending $2.2 million for nine assistant coaches.

Brad Iverson-Long


About Brad Iverson-Long

Brad Iverson-Long is a reporter for the Idaho Business Review, covering banks, financial services, technology and new business.