KNOXVILLE - New football coach Derek Dooley and the University of Tennessee have backed their professional marriage with millions of dollars.
Dooley, UT interim president Jan Simek and men's athletic director Mike Hamilton in early March signed a memorandum of understanding that features severe financial penalties if either the coach or administration dissolves their agreement.
The six-year deal - which escalates from $1.8 to $2.3 million in total compensation, before bonuses - includes steep initial contract buyouts on each side.
If Dooley resigns between now and Feb. 15, 2012, he'd have to pay UT $4 million. That figure decreases from $3 million to $1 million to $750,000 to $500,000 during the deal's final four years.
Dooley's pricey buyout is a much stricter situation than predecessor Lane Kiffin's. The former coach only owed the school $800,000 after bolting for Southern California in January - as compared to the millions UT would have needed to terminate his contract without cause.
UT must pay Dooley $5 million if it fires Dooley without cause between now and Feb. 15, 2013. That figure decreases to $4 million the next two years, and $2.5 million in the final year.
Regardless, UT must pay Louisiana Tech $500,000 in two equal payments by next summer, in accordance with Dooley's buyout from his previous employer.
Dooley's contract featured several athletic and academic achievement incentives.
The coach will make $40,000 for taking the Vols to a non-BCS bowl game, $150,000 for a BCS game or $200,000 for winning a national championship. He will make $80,000 for taking UT to the SEC championship game, or $150,000 for winning a conference title. He will make $25,000 for winning SEC coach of the year honors, or $50,000 for being named national coach of the year.
A lone academic achievement near the end of Dooley's memorandum of understanding stated the coach will earn an additional $50,000 annually for keeping UT's NCAA APR score above the satisfactory line - 925 on a 1,000-point scale.
The coach will also be awarded standard benefits also granted to his predecessors, including moving expenses and the use of two University-issued automobiles.
More benefits will likely be added for Dooley's official contract. He hasn't signed that contract, but that process typically takes much longer than agreeing to terms for a memorandum of understanding.
The Vols' assistants coaches' memorandums of understanding were also released Wednesday, after a request from the Times Free Press.
UT adds 2010 signee
Defensive lineman Greg Clark from Warner Robins, Ga., signed a national letter of intent with UT this week, giving the Vols a late 26th addition to their 2010 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Clark starred for Northside High School and initially drew interest from several big programs, but academic concerns forced him off the radar for several months.
Clark isn't a certain qualifier, but his addition to the class is a strong suggestion that UT felt good about his recent academic improvements.
If Clark qualifies, he could provide the Vols with much-needed depth at defensive tackle - one of the team's thinnest positions.
Clark tossed aside constant double and triple teams last season to finished with 55 tackles, including nine stops for loss, according to one of his high school coaches.
Despite the addition of Clark, the Vols will still play next season well below their maximum allotment of 85 scholarship players. Coaching changes the past two offseasons have significantly reduced UT's roster size.
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