MISSOULA — Montana’s success on the football field in 2019 didn’t just mean its first playoff trip since 2015.
It also meant a nice payout for Grizzly head coach Bobby Hauck and his assistants.
Montana paid out bonuses totaling $230,000 to the football staff for its success during the 2020 fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
Hauck earned $110,000 in incentives during the fiscal year, over half of his $185,000 base salary, which increased to $205,000 when he signed a new contract in the offseason. His assistants got a combined $120,000.
Diving into the incentives Hauck earned, $25,000 came from on-field performances, $15,000 related to scheduling, $15,000 for academic performance, $20,000 for attending athletic department functions and a $35,000 retention bonus.
Hauck’s bonus total was more than triple the $36,000 he received during the prior fiscal year, which included the 2018 season, when the Griz went 6-5. That increase in bonuses is another measure of the Grizzlies’ success in 2019, when they made their first official FCS quarterfinal appearance since 2009 and went 10-4 to win 10 games for the first time since 2013.
While it may seem like a large chunk of extra expenses for UM during the pandemic, which could cause a financial crunch for teams across the country, the bonuses were paid out before the end of the past fiscal year. Those amounts aren’t impacting the current fiscal year and would’ve accounted for about 1% of UM’s $22 million in expenses during the 2019 fiscal year.
“We’re fine on those,” Montana athletic director Kent Haslam said.
Of the on-field bonuses, Hauck got $10,000 for winning two regular-season games against non-conference teams that made the FCS playoffs during the past two seasons. He got $5,000 for each of those wins, one against South Dakota and one over Monmouth, both playoff teams in 2017.
Hauck picked up $5,000 for winning 10 or more games. He secured $5,000 for qualifying for the playoffs, added $2,500 for making the second round of the playoffs and another $2,500 for making the quarterfinals.
Related to scheduling, Hauck got $15,000 for Montana playing an FBS team, Oregon. UM received $650,000 in guarantee game money from the Ducks, who scored a 35-3 win.
Off the field, Hauck earned $20,000 for attending “all reasonably requested UM Athletics and Grizzly Scholarship Association functions.”
Relating to academics, he got the maximum $7,500 for the football team posting a grade-point average above 3.10, up from 3.03 the previous school year. He also added $7,500 for the team posting a four-year academic progress rate of at least 950, which the team missed out on last year. The latest APR data, from the 2018-19 academic year, shows a multi-year rate of 961 in the team-based measure of academic eligibility and retention.
Outside the regular bonus structure, Hauck got a $35,000 retention bonus for being employed as UM’s coach on April 1, 2020. That was a new incentive inserted into his current contract, which was agreed upon after a breakout 2019 season and kept Hauck from heading into the 2020 season on the final year of his old contract.
“I thought it was a great year,” Haslam said. “Back in the playoffs, win a game in the playoffs, host a game in the playoffs, GPAs are high, APRs are in good shape, attending GSA functions and beating FCS opponents that have qualified for the playoffs, those are all pretty good markers of having success as a team. Those are good markers, there’s no doubt about it.”
Five on-field bonuses Hauck missed out on were winning Big Sky Conference coach of the year ($5,000), beating an FBS team ($10,000), making the FCS semifinals ($2,500), making the finals ($5,000) and winning the FCS title ($30,000).
He also missed out on getting a bonus for maintaining or increasing attendance ($5,000). Only regular-season attendance is counted toward that bonus, so the playoff game wasn't included, although overall attendance did go up if the playoff game is factored in. That bonus has been changed in his new contract to instead account for season ticket sales.
“We realized it was an ambiguous incentive, hence the reason it was changed to season tickets in the new contract. Much easier to measure,” Haslam said.
Academics-wise, Hauck missed out on bonuses for the team posting a yearly graduation success rate equal to or higher than the overall FCS rate ($7,500) and the team’s academic progress report showing no 0-for-2s ($3,000),
All 10 of Hauck’s assistants received the same bonuses as him, except for attending UM/GSA functions and the retention bonus, which were specific to him. The amounts they received for each bonus were simply a fraction of what he got.
The eight assistant coaches and one assistant athletic director for football operations who were employed the full fiscal year each got $12,000. Former assistant Jace Schillinger and current assistant Bryce Erickson, who replaced him, combined to earn the full $12,000. Schillinger earned $9,000 and Erickson got $3,000, with the bonuses determined by who was employed on the dates the specific bonuses were required to be paid.
Hauck’s new contract is a four-year deal that runs from Feb. 1, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2024, and calls for a revamped bonus structure. There's a bump in potential bonuses from $138,000 to $279,000, including performance-bonuses increasing from a possibility of $72,500 to $113,500.
The bonus related to attendance was increased from $5,000 to a max of $35,000 based on season ticket sales. The scheduling bonus for playing an FBS team went up from $15,000 to $75,000. And the bonus for attending UM/GSA events increased from $20,000 to $30,000. Academics bonuses remained the same at $25,500.
On top of that, he can potentially add a retention bonus of $40,000 on April 2021, $45,000 on April 1, 2022, and $50,000 on April 1, 2023.
“We want to retain good coaches, and most programs in America, no different than Montana State and Weber State and North Dakota State, use bonuses as a way to incentivize that and to increase compensation to keep a coach, and we wanted to keep Bobby here,” Haslam said. “When he came on the first contract, we really did increase the academic incentives. I thought they were very generous. At this point, it was a way that we could increase rewards for on-field performance.”
There's also a $6,000 automobile stipend in his contract — $500 per month —as well as other forms of compensation — camps, clinics, radio/TV appearances and more — with the amount of money he receives open to negotiation.
Hauck’s new contract includes increased potential bonuses for his assistants up from $21,000 to $24,000. Strength and conditioning coach Matt Nicholson was added into the contract as a potential recipient.
The contract negotiations were completed before the coronavirus became a reality in college athletics. Haslam said people across the athletic department, including some football coaches, have voluntarily reduced their pay or renegotiated their bonuses for this fiscal year that began July 1. He didn’t want to name anyone specifically or give exact dollar figures out of respect for their privacy.
“I appreciate their willingness to do that,” Haslam said. “That often goes unfed and unnoticed. We’ve got people in this department who’ve stepped up and are willing to help. All of our department employees have been willing to do things on a voluntary basis that helps the department as a whole, including our football coaches, basketball coaches.”