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Brian Kelly's Salary, Bonuses Makes Him Highest-Paid Coach At a Public University

Brian Kelly's move to LSU may have shocked the college football world, but his contract details are just as attention-grabbing. 

Between his yearly salary and bonuses, Kelly will be the highest paid coach at a public university, per contract details obtained by Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger. His yearly salary starts at $9 million in 2022, increasing to $9.2 million the following year and $200,000 every two years after that (2025, 2027, 2029) before reaching $10M in 2031. 

But, Kelly will also receive a $500,000 “longevity bonus” each July of the contract year, and another $500,000 bonus each season when LSU is bowl eligible. For reference, the program had made it to a bowl for 20 straight seasons prior to last year's campaign. 

In total, Kelly will receive approximately $1.35 million in annual max incentives, which includes SEC and national title. In addition to the bonuses and salary, LSU will provide an interest-free loan of 20% of the home price (up to $1.2 million) as well as two vehicles or two vehicle allowances ($1,000 per month). 

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Other portions of his contract include that the Tigers will owe Kelly 90% of his salary if fired without cause. However, if he wins the national title, the program will owe him 100% if they fire him. If Kelly chose to leave, LSU would pay him $2 million after the second contract year.

The 60-year-old joins the Tigers after posting a 92–32 record at Notre Dame over the last 12 seasons. He reached the College Football Playoff in 2018 and 2020, and he tallied 11 wins in 2021. 

Kelly briefly met with Notre Dame players Tuesday morning after reportedly texting the team on Monday night regarding his departure. According to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, Kelly met with the team for 11 minutes, while The Athletic's Pete Sampson later reported that the meeting was closer to two minutes and that Kelly didn't stop to take questions from players.

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