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Football: Breaking down Louisiana football coach Billy Napier’s contract extension

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 23, 2020

UL football coach Billy Napier’s annual income jumped by $80,000 to at least $880,000, and bonus incentives changed when he signed a second contract extension earlier this year, according to a copy of the deal obtained by The Daily Advertiser.

UL announced Jan. 2 — four days before it beat Miami (Ohio) at the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, to cap an 11-3 season, and amid rumors that Napier could be headed to an SEC program — that it had agreed to terms on an extended deal with the head coach.

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UL said at the time that the extension was on top of a one-year extension Napier received in October, meaning his deal — as amended twice — now runs through the end of the 2025 season.

But it did not disclose financial terms of the new extension, citing the fact the contract had not yet been signed by all involved parties. It also had not been approved by the UL System Board of the Supervisors at the time.


The Advertiser obtained the contract Saturday through a public records request made in early January.

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Napier — a former offensive coordinator at Arizona State and Clemson, and ex-receivers coach at Alabama — has led UL to a combined 18-10 record, two Sun Belt Conference championship game appearances and two bowl appearances including one bowl win in his two seasons as coach of the Cajuns.

Some highlights of, and changes to, the contract after its latest extension:

Base salary

Base salary from the university stays the same as Napier’s original 2018 contract at $250,000 with annual increases in $25,000 increments up to $100,000 beginning in 2022.

For 2020, for instance, it’s $300,000 total; in 2021, it jumps to $325,000; and in 2022 through 2025 it will be $350,000.

‘Contingent premium benefit’

Contingent premium benefit, which amounts to annual pay above and beyond base salary as funded by the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation, jumps from $500,000 to $580,000 this year, in 2021, in 2022 and in 2023; it then goes then to $600,000 in 2024 and 2025.

That means when base salary and contingent premium benefit are combined, Napier will make $880,000 in 2020; $905,000 in 2021; $930,000 in 2022 and ’23; and $950,000 in 2024 and 2025.

Other benefits

Benefits stay the same, including standard university fringe benefits plus up to 12 game tickets for personal use, an annual automobile allowance of $6,000 (or use of a dealership vehicle) and $80 per month cellphone allowance.

Retention bonus

Retention bonus stays at $100,000 annual, payable in full at the end of the contract’s initial term and any extensions, with full vesting beginning Jan. 31, 2021.


Many incentive bonuses stay the same:

  • Academic achievement: $25,000 annually for a 2.80 team grade point average or 60 percent graduation rate
  • Winning the Sun Belt Conference West Division: $25,000
  • Winning the conference championship: $50,000
  • Getting to a bowl game: $25,000
  • Getting to the College Football Playoff national championship game: $200,000, with an additional $50,000 for a win
  • Being named state Coach of the Year by the Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association: $10,000
  • Being named Sun Belt Coach of the Year: $25,000
  • Being named Coach of the Year in any one of various national awards: $50,000
  • Beating a Power 5 team: $20,000

UL is scheduled to play one Power 5 team in each of the next three seasons — Missouri this year, Texas in 2021 and Florida State in 2022.

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New or increased bonuses:

  • Winning a Sun Belt-affiliated bowl game: $40,000
  • New Year’s Six bowl game: $100,000 for getting to a New Year’s Six game, with an additional $150,000 for a win (increased from $100,000 for getting to the game, with an additional $50,000 for a win).

Napier cashed in on multiple bonuses last season, including — but not necessarily limited to — winning the Sun Belt West, getting to a bowl and being named SBC Coach of the Year.

Staff funds

Napier’s salary pool for 10 full-time assistant coaches stays the same at $2 million.

His pool for one strength-and-conditioning coach, two assistants and an intern remains $385,000, and the pool for support staff including a chief of staff and four recruiting/personnel staffers stays at $320,000.

But his pool for up to 11 quality controls assistants jumps from $165,000 to $185,000.

Bonus incentives for assistant coaches (roughly one week’s pay for making a bowl) and other staffers stay the same.

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Buyout provisions

If Napier wants to buy his way out of the contract, the cost to do so remains the same: $1.25 million to the RCAF this year; $750,000 in 2021; $500,000 in 2022; and $250,000 in 2023.

Under the extension, the buyout drops to $100,000 in 2024 and 2025.

The new deal also adds a provision that the buyout amount drops by 25 percent if Bryan Maggard no longer is UL’s athletic director on the date of notice of termination.

On the dotted line

Napier did not sign the contract until Jan. 31 of this year, and UL president Joseph Savoie signed it five days later, on Feb. 5.

Napier’s initial extension essentially was an automatic one triggered by language in the Cajun coach’s original contract with UL.

The same is the case for the second extension, according to language in the document obtained last week.

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Three days after the two sides agreed to terms on the second extension, and one day before the bowl game, Napier said he was “not a candidate” for the then-vacant Mississippi State head coaching job later filled — as announced Jan. 9 — by former Washington State coach Mike Leach.

Napier had been rumored to be a candidate for multiple SEC jobs late in 2019, and especially for the Mississippi State one early in January.

Napier’s contract would not have precluded him from leaving UL then, and it would not now, but payment of buyout terms would be required.

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At the time the second extension was agreed to, as well as the time Napier said he was not a candidate for the Mississippi State job, the “second restated contract,” as the extension was called in the document, was “considered a valid contract only upon execution by the parties and written approval by the Board.”

The UL System Board of Supervisors approved it Feb. 28.

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