Ken Bone may have been dismissed as the men’s basketball coach at Washington State last week, but the school still owes Bone the $1.7 million remaining on the final two years of his contract.
That is because former WSU athletic director Jim Sterk signed Bone to an atypically long, seven-year contract in April 2009. Furthermore, the contract was fully guaranteed, meaning that in the event the coach was fired he would continue to be paid as if he hadn’t been dismissed.
Sterk is now the athletic director at San Diego State and was in Spokane for the Aztecs’ NCAA tournament games against New Mexico State and North Dakota State. He said that the reason for the contract’s length was that women’s basketball coach June Daugherty had also been given seven years.
“I think June Daugherty had received a seven-year deal and so I think (president Elson Floyd) agreed that was fair to have when we hired Ken on the men’s side.”
Typically, contracts for coaches include a buyout clause that pays them a fraction of their salary if they are fired, or requires them to pay back the school a certain figure if they leave voluntarily.
Sterk added that because Bone had previously taken Portland State to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances he was “somebody that was marketable at the time.”
Bone led the Cougars to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament in his second season at WSU. But he finished with just an 80-86 record, including 29-61 in Pac-12 play.
“I think he’s a really good coach,” Sterk said. “I think he just didn’t get enough kids to come and be a part of the vision, and then I think he had some injuries as well. It was a combination of thing but it’s just too bad it didn’t work out.”
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