July 15, 2014
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – How many times in say, the last three decades, have you read about a college football coach getting a contract extension and no raise in his base or supplemental pay?
Well, that’s the deal Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick announced Monday for Coach Doc Holliday, who is getting the same $600,000 base and supplemental figure he signed for when he arrived at MU from West Virginia University back in mid-December 2009.
Now, the 57-year-old enters this season with four remaining in the deal. It’s about giving a deserving coach a sweetener. It’s about a veteran coach realizing he’s working close to home at a place that has had success, wants more success and is building the facilities to prove it. It’s about Marshall athletics being fiscally prudent, too.
So, besides the two additional years that Hamrick tacked on to Holliday’s deal that was re-upped by a single season in February 2012, Holliday will get additional dollars the same way the old Smith Barney commercials sold the product:
He’ll make money the old-fashioned way. He’ll earn it.
Holliday’s new contract (through June 30, 2018) includes the maximum potential for $115,000 in incentives annually. In 2013, when he led the Herd to a 10-4 record and Military Bowl victory over Maryland, the Herd coach landed $30,000 via two incentives -- $10,000 for a Conference USA East division title, and $20,000 for bowl participation.
Now, if the Herd – as forecast by seemingly everyone from Phil Steele to Punxsutawney Phil – wins the division again ($10,000), wins the C-USA Championship ($30,000) and goes to a bowl ($30,000), Doc gets a lot richer.
And if Marshall can go 13-0 and find its way through the College Football Playoff selection committee to one of those access bowls (Peach, Cotton or Fiesta) as the singular Group of Five conferences team, Holliday gets a $50,000 bowl reward rather than the $30,000 that would go for a Heart of Dallas or Bahamas appearance.
Anyone who has been paying attention to Herd football shouldn’t have been surprised about Holliday’s new deal. It wasn’t a matter of “if.” It was “when.”
“Well, Doc and I agreed to a contract extension for him two or three months ago,” Hamrick said Tuesday morning in his Shewey Building office. “We just had to work out a couple of particulars. He got busy, I got busy.
“He knew my word was good and I knew his word was good. That’s a relationship that Coach Holliday and I have. We’ve known each other since high school. He’s worked with me long enough and I’ve worked with him long enough that when he gives me his word on something, that’s good and when I give him my word, that’s good.
“It was just a matter of dotting I’s and crossing t’s and getting it done before the football players started coming (Aug. 3) for preseason camp.”
Former college linebackers Hamrick (Marshall) and Holliday (WVU) have a relationship that dates back 40 years, when their high school teams – Herbert Hoover (Hamrick) and Hurricane (Holliday) met on the football field.
When Hamrick became the AD at his alma mater – he’ll begin his sixth year at Marshall next week – he knew who he wanted to hire to right a football program that had been put in reverse after great success in the 1990s and early this century.
And entering his fifth season guiding the Herd, Holliday has his program poised for big success.
“The contract extension is well-deserved,” Hamrick said. “Doc’s done an outstanding job. I’m just as happy with what he’s done off the field as where we are on the field.”
Asked why there was no incentive clause in the contract relating to academics, Hamrick said that’s a road that won’t be traveled.
“That’s taken for granted,” the Herd AD said. “It’s expected. You’re not supposed to get paid because your kids do well academically, or do well off the field. That’s something that’s expected here. That’s what you already get paid for. And Coach Holliday has done a really good job of that. Our APR is really high. Our grade point average is excellent. And we’re putting out solid kids.”
There are projections that Marshall football could produce an NCAA single-year APR of more than 990 (1,000 is a perfect score) when reports are done for 2013-14. Holliday, who is on vacation and was not available for comment, also has said the team’s graduation rate also is expected to eclipse 90 percent.
Holliday has often joked that “if you want a job, just come through my office. It’s guaranteed you’ll get one.” He’s lost assistant coaches to Wisconsin, Purdue, Penn State, Kentucky, Texas Tech, West Virginia and Temple, among others, but he’s retooled and built a stronger core of aides.
“I’m also very pleased with the staff Doc has assembled,” Hamrick said. “I think he’s smart enough to know that he has to have good assistants. And he’s got good assistants. Some of them are so good they get scooped up, but we’ve been able to replace them with just as good or better.
“And our recruiting has been excellent. He was known as a recruiter and that was probably the No. 1 reason he was hired. Like someone said, you don’t win with x’s and o’s, you win with the Jimmys and Joes.”
For the first time in the fiscal year that just ended June 30, Marshall’s nine on-field assistant coaches’ pay eclipsed $1 million. That situation and the sweetening those aforementioned incentives were doable because of the Football Enhancement Fund that Hamrick created in his first few months on the job – even before he hired Holliday.
Hamrick doesn’t seem worried that Holliday will bolt for his own alma mater, a move that would dig into Holliday’s wallet for a $3 million buyout. The coach’s buyout, prior to this postseason (Dec. 6) is $1.2 million, or $600,000 thereafter. MU’s buyout is $600,000 per year for any time left on the deal.
Hamrick has wanted to hire Holliday for a long time. And when the opportunity came at Marshall, the AD didn’t much worry about the backlash he got for hiring an assistant coach at rival WVU.
When he was the AD at East Carolina, Holliday was the associate head coach at N.C. State and Hamrick interviewed Holliday for the Pirates’ head coaching job in 2003. Hamrick recommended Holliday, but was overruled by the ECU administration. The hire was John Thompson, who is now the defensive coordinator at Texas State.
“We’re glad Coach Holliday has agreed to an extension,” Hamrick said. “And I think he knows what’s happening here with all of the facilities, the Indoor (Athletic Facility), the Sports Medicine Center, new academic center, new Hall of Fame … all the other cosmetic changes we’ve made to the football stadium, like the new turf.
“The commitment in salaries we’ve made to the assistant coaches, commitment made to the strength coach (Scott Sinclair). The majority of this been done through the Football Enhancement Fund.”
Holliday’s deal – and the timing of the announcement just prior to what’s expected to be a strong Herd season – is another of those enhancements.