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Idaho SBOE extends contract of Idaho AD Rob Spear

The Idaho State Board of Education this week approved a four-year extension for University of Idaho athletic director Rob Spear to remain at the Moscow-based school.

Spear's contract was due to be up in August of this year and has been extended through February of 2020. His compensation rises to $181,958.40 annually. He'll receive a $15,000 media payment from Learfield Sports every year and can tack on an additional $10,000 based on department-wide APR scores. His maximum compensation is $206,958.40.

The salary is an increase from his previous annual compensation of $169,988.40.

Spear owes $100,000 if he leaves for another job prior to this August, and $50,000 if he leaves prior to August of 2017. The university will owe him his annual salary through 2020 if it fires Spear without cause, unless Spear obtains comparable employment. 

Spear took over as athletic director in 2003 after Mike Bohn left for San Diego State. Soon after he fired then-football coach Tom Cable and hired Nick Holt. He's overseen four head football coaching changes throughout his tenure. 

He gained Idaho entrance into the Western Athletic Conference as an all-sports member in 2005. In 2012 he moved Idaho's football program independent and in 2013 into the Sun Belt Conference as a football-only member. He led Idaho back to the Big Sky as a non-football member, a return to the conference Idaho was a part of as an all-sports member from 1963-1996.

The Sun Belt Conference is voting on March 10 whether to extend Idaho's football-only membership past the 2017 season. 

Spear has made two changes to the men's basketball program, hiring George Pfeifer in 2006 and current coach Don Verlin in 2008.

He is currently leading an effort to get a basketball arena constructed on campus, something the university has been trying to accomplish since the 1960's. 

Spear oversaw a $27 Million renovation of the Kibbie Dome completed in 2011. 

Spear's new salary still has him on the low-end of Sun Belt athletic directors, only earning more than Arkansas-Little Rock's Chasse Conque and Louisiana-Monroe's Brian Wickstrom.

It does, however, propel him toward the top of the Big Sky. He earns around $30,000 more than Eastern Washington's Bill Chaves and close to $60,000 more than Idaho State’s Jeff Tingey. 

Sean Kramer
Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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