Weber St James Madison Football-12

Weber State coach Jay Hill talks with safety Trey Hoskins (7) during the first half against James Madison in an NCAA college football game in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Harrisonburg, Va.

It isn’t common to sign a coach to more than one contract extension in one year, but Weber State did that this month to keep Jay Hill at the helm of its football program.

The terms of Hill’s new contract appear to lock him into a salary that makes him the highest-paid football coach in the Big Sky Conference.

Hill and athletic director Jerry Bovee signed the new deal on Dec. 6, two days before the Wildcats fell in the FCS quarterfinals to No. 1 James Madison on a last-second field goal, according to the contract, obtained through a records request.

The Wildcats (11-3) hosted a playoff game, won two playoff games, won six games on the road and finished with 11 wins — all school records.

Hill’s reward was a six-year deal to make him coach through the 2023 season and was officially made effective Dec. 11 with a signature from a school administrator. That added two years to his term from the contract he signed in January 2017.

It also gave him a significant pay raise. Hill’s base salary increased from $158,000 to $185,000 and his guaranteed annual bonus from $75,000 to $90,000.

That raised his guaranteed pay from $233,000 to $275,000, which appears to make him the highest-paid coach in the conference, according to a survey of contracts and media reports related to Big Sky coaches.

Montana State head coach Jeff Choate makes $180,000 in base salary, plus $95,000 in easily attainable bonuses related to regular coaching duties, such as appearing on radio/TV shows and at public events as required by the school, according to his contract posted online by The Missoulian. That total equals Hill’s mark of $275,000.

UC Davis head coach Dan Hawkins makes $262,500 in base salary that increases to $272,500 in 2020-21, according to a report from The Davis Enterprise — which only specifies performance-based bonuses and not guaranteed bonuses.

It’s typical for coaches to receive incentive-based bonuses related to wins, playoff appearances and other benchmarks, but not all receive guaranteed bonuses.

Hill’s incentive-based bonuses received bumps as well. Those increases include:

  • From $2,000 to $5,000 for winning the Big Sky
  • From $2,000 to $5,000 for being named Big Sky coach of the year
  • From $3,000 to $5,000 for each playoff win
  • From $20,000 to $30,000 for winning the FCS national championship
  • A new bonus of $2,500 for qualifying for the playoffs
  • A new bonus of $10,000 for defeating an FBS team

Hill’s voluntary buyout — if he chooses to terminate his employment at Weber State — remains at $100,000, though the December contract newly specifies that amount is “to be paid by Hill’s new employer.”

Hill has the best in-conference win percentage in Weber State history. His record at Weber State is 26-23 with an 18-8 mark in the last two seasons, which includes consecutive playoff appearances.

“Jay has done an incredible job in his four seasons at Weber State and is a proven commodity,” athletic director Jerry Bovee said in a release when the school announced his extension Dec. 6. “Extending him to a six-year contract will continue to provide stability in our program and I’m excited to work with coach Hill on continuing to build Wildcat football.”


Other Big Sky coach salaries with guaranteed bonuses, if any, according to public contracts and media reports:

  • Cal Poly’s Tim Walsh — $229,000
  • Montana’s Bobby Hauck — $205,000
  • North Dakota’s Bubba Schweigert — $185,000 that increases to $225,000 in its final year
  • Sacramento State’s Jody Sears — $187,000 (previous to a newly announced extension)
  • Northern Arizona’s Jerome Souers — $185,000
  • Eastern Washington’s Aaron Best — $180,000
  • Idaho State’s Rob Phenicie — $85,000

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net, follow him on Twitter @bhein3 and at facebook.com/brettheinwrites.

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