The Texas A&M Board of Regents approved a six-year contract extension Thursday for Kevin Sumlin that will pay the football coach $5 million a year.
Sumlin, who earned $3.1 million this season, will be one of the highest paid coaches in the country. But he also agreed to a $5 million buyout he must pay to A&M if Sumlin takes another job.
The buyout is through 2016. If Sumlin is terminated without cause, A&M also would have to pay Sumlin a $5 million buyout. This clause is through 2019, the length of his new deal.
Sumlin tentatively agreed to the contract on Nov. 3o. But the regents had to approve it. They did so in a teleconference Thursday.
Sumlin’s salary would be the fourth-highest in the country, behind Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.6 million), Texas’ Mack Brown ($5.4 million) and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema ($5.12 million).
Brown, whose job is in danger, was the first coach to cross the $5 million threshold. UT gave him that salary in December 2009, after the Longhorns qualified for the national championship game.
Saban, whose Alabama teams have won three of the last four national championships, soon surpassed Brown. Arkansas paid Bielema $5.2 million to entice him away from Wisconsin for the 2013 season. In addition, Tennessee’s Butch Jones is close to $5 million, with a $4.86 million annual deal that he agreed to for this season.