Williams receives pay raise from UM

Possible $1M jump tied to academic, athletic success


COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams signed a new contract yesterday morning that boosted his salary by $300,000 and left open the possibility of him making as much as $2.3 million this year and earning annual, one-year contract extensions through 2013, the university announced.

It all hinges, though, upon his players' academic and athletic success.

Williams' salary increased from $1.3 million to $1.6 million, but if he wins the national championship this season and all other academic standards are met, he could earn as much as $2.3 million. His current 10-year deal -- which expires May 31, 2009 -- will be extended by one year for each of the next four seasons if the team gains the NCAA tournament and one of two academic standards are met: Maryland meets the annual NCAA Academic Progress Rate cut score of 925, or the scholarship athletes on the team earn an average of 27 academic credits per year.

Williams also will receive bonuses if he graduates at least 50 percent of his players and finishes in the top half of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The terms of the contract were announced the same day the NCAA released its first Graduation Success Rates, and the men's basketball program ranked last in the ACC at 30 percent. The data included students who entered the university between 1995 and 1998, and for the first time did not include students who transferred out of the program.

Athletic director Debbie Yow said Williams' annual bonuses will increase as graduation rates improve and Maryland climbs in the ACC standings.

"He and I both agree that the academic achievement and success of our student-athletes is every bit as important as our competitive excellence," Yow said. "That's part of being at Maryland; it's a value we hold dear. I think Coach Williams is up for the challenge of continuing to improve the academic results."

Yow said the raise puts Williams among the 10 highest-paid coaches in the country and among the top three in the ACC. During his tenure at Maryland, Williams has guided the program to two Final Fours, the 2002 national championship and the 2004 ACC tournament championship. Last season was the first in 12 seasons that Maryland went to the National Invitation Tournament instead of the NCAA tournament.

"I've never been worried about a contract in my life," Williams said yesterday. "I've been lucky I've always had a job. You can't coach thinking about your contract."

Williams said "there's no problem" with the team's academic success, and noted both of his seniors graduated last year and the Terps have met the 925 APR cut for next year.

The national APR calculation recently was changed so that schools are not penalized by students who leave early to compete professionally. And any athlete who returns to complete his degree will earn a bonus point for the team's APR calculation in the semester during which he graduates.


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