Navy's Johnson due for big raise

Sources: Coach could get $500,000 salary increase

December 08, 2006|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN REPORTER

Navy football coach Paul Johnson, who was a candidate this week to take over at North Carolina State before the school reportedly settled on Boston College coach Tom O'Brien, is about to be rewarded by the academy.

Sources close to Johnson said he is due a raise that would increase his compensation to nearly $1.8 million per year if he meets certain incentives. Johnson's six-year contract, which includes an annual, incentive-based rollover clause that will kick in Jan. 1, currently is worth about $1.3 million per year.

His counterpart at Maryland, Ralph Friedgen, signed a contract guaranteeing him $1.5 million per year, an annual increase of about $250,000, according to a 2004 report in The Sun. The contract also included incentive bonuses.

Johnson, who reiterated that he never talked with any officials at N.C. State before the Wolfpack pursued O'Brien, reaffirmed his commitment to Navy in a written statement yesterday. But Johnson also did not rule out that he might explore other coaching opportunities that could arise.

Another high-profile job that could open is at West Virginia, where coach Rich Rodriguez reportedly is mulling an offer to coach at Alabama.

"It's crazy to answer hypotheticals, because you can't win," Johnson said. "My take has always been and will continue to be that I have never actively campaigned for a job or looked for a job. I'm happy with this job. I've always felt that Navy wanted me to coach here, and I've been treated very fairly here."

Johnson added that during his five years in Annapolis, he has received "10 or 12" calls from schools interested in him, and has turned down several offers. During the past four seasons, Navy has gone 35-14 and is 2-1 in bowl games. The Midshipmen will try to win their third consecutive postseason game in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Boston College on Dec. 30 in Charlotte, N.C.

"Our commitment to Paul is 365 days a year. When we revisit his contract, I want Paul to have everything he needs and everything he believes to be important," said Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk, who declined to discuss any specifics of Johnson's deal, but added that Johnson has gotten a raise every year he's been at Navy.

Gladchuk also said he is determined to keep Johnson's compensation in line with the top 20 percent of earners among the nation's 119 Division I-A coaches.

"We'd have to fall flat on our face for [Johnson's] contract not to roll over. Job security should be the least of his concerns," Gladchuk said. "This guy is right for us. We've created a situation where I don't think the grass is greener [elsewhere]. It would take a significant opportunity for him to pull the plug in Annapolis. I expect him to be our coach for many years to come."

Under Johnson, Navy has gone 9-1 against Army and Air Force and won an unprecedented four straight Commander in Chief's Trophies by sweeping the service academies since the 2003 season. In 2004, Johnson was the Bobby Dodd national coach of the year.

Johnson, who went 62-10 and won two Division I-AA titles in five seasons at Georgia Southern before taking over at Navy, would record his 100th career victory by beating Boston College. Navy would tie a school record with its 36th win by a senior class if the Mids win the Meineke bowl.

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