Cal Basketball: Details of New Coach Mark Fox's 5-Year Contract

Jeff Faraudo

New Cal basketball coach Mark Fox will earn at least $1.6 million in his debut season, including a one-time $100,000 signing bonus.

That's a major increase over the $1 million Cal paid Wyking Jones before firing him after his second season last spring. But it remains the second-lowest men's basketball head coaching salary in the Pac-12. New Washington State coach Kyle Smith, formerly of USF, reportedly signed a contract worth $1.4 million per season.

Fox's deal runs five years, through the 2023-24 season.

In his final season, if still still employed on Jan. 1, 2024, Fox would earn $2,050,000, including a $250,000 retention bonus, plus potential performance bonuses.

The Pac-12's highest-paid coach in 2018-19 was Utah's Larry Krystkowiak, whose salary of $3,572,500 ranked him No. 11 nationally. He was the only Pac-12 coach ranked among the 25 highest-paid in the country, according to USA Today.

Six Pac-12 coaches -- Krystkowiak, Oregon's Dana Altman, Arizona's Sean Miller, former UCLA coach Steve Alford, Arizona State's Bobby Hurley and Oregon State's Wayne Tinkle -- earned at least $2 million last season.

(No figures are available for Stanford's Jerod Haase or USC's Andy Enfield because both are private institutions).

New UCLA coach Mick Cronin figures to jump to the top of the heap in the Pac-12 after signing a six-year, $24.5 million deal with the Bruins.

(That's chump change compared to the nation's two best-compensated college basketball coaches: Kentucky's John Calipari at $9.276 million and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski at $7.048 million).

(Click here for the breakdown of the new contract signed by Cal football coach Justin Wilcox in the offseason.)

The lowest-paid Pac-12 basketball coach last season, other than Jones, was Washington State's Ernie Kent ($1.4 million), who was replaced by Smith.

Here’s how Fox’s contract breaks down:

He will earn a base salary of $275,000 for each of his five seasons.

Fox also will be paid a “talent fee” of $1,225,000 this season, with that amount increasing by $75,000 each subsequent season to $1.3 million, $1.375 million, $1.45 million and finally $1.525 million.

He is due retention bonuses of $250,000 each if still employed on Jan. 1, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2024.

Here is a rundown of the various performance bonuses Fox can earn, with a maximum of $300,000 in any given year, provided the team’s four-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) score remains at 930 or higher:

Fox also can collect bonuses for the team’s academic performance, including for its combined grade-point average and its APR score. Those bonuses reach a maximum of $50,000 and $45,000, respectively, for the two categories.

If Fox is fired without cause (in other words, without violating the terms of his contract), he would be paid 100 percent of his base salary and talent fee for that season and the next, 75 percent of the base salary and talent fee for the year after that, then 50 percent, 25 percent for subsequent years.

But if Fox chooses to leave prior to April 30, 2020, he must pay the university $3 million. That buyout figure drops to $2 million in 2021, $1 million in 2022 and $500,000 if he departs prior to April 30, 2023.

(Click here for the 2019-20 Pac-12 basketball schedule for Cal.)

(Click here for our ranking of the football-basketball success of all Pac-12 schools over the past 20 years.)

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

I think it's pretty appropriate. You'd think they might do better than OSU and Colorado, but OSU came in 4th last year and Wayne Tinkle did win sexiest man in college BB so... They can always upgrade it whenever they want.

I think Fox got off to a great start bringing guys in, especially international players. That makes me think he has a good feel for who might fit in at Cal and how to appeal to get them to come there. It looks promising.

Jeff Faraudo
Jeff Faraudo


Hey Cal fans . . . is Mark Fox's contract appropriate or does it concern you that Cal still is paying its coach the second-to-lowest salary in the Pac-12?