$20 million deal keeps Musselman in Fayetteville

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,122 views 

Eric Musselman, the most successful Arkansas Razorback basketball coach since Nolan Richardson, has signed a new five-year $20 million deal with additional compensation and incentive payments available based on success in SEC and NCAA Tournaments.

The deal, which includes roughly $4 million in annual pay for Musselman–up from $2.5 million annually–, follows the Hogs’ first NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance in more than 25 years. The new agreement will run from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2026 and includes the potential for a pair of one-year automatic agreement extensions (2027, 2028) based on Arkansas receiving bids to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament within the timeframe of the agreement.

The UA hired Musselman in April 2019 with a five-year, $12.5 million deal, 12 days after firing Mike Anderson.

“As I mentioned during the course of what was a memorable men’s basketball season, the best way for any head coach to advocate for themselves and their program is to win games,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “Coach Musselman earned this opportunity based on the tremendous progress that he and his coaching staff have made in the past two seasons, culminating with the most exciting season in the recent history of Razorback Basketball.”

Musselman is 45-19 in two years at Arkansas and 155-53 in six years as a collegiate head coach. His overall winning percentage of 0.745 ranks seventh among active NCAA coaches with a minimum of five year­s as a Division I program. As a collegiate head coach, Musselman has won at least 20 games each year, won three conference titles and reached four of the last five NCAA Tournaments played.

Musselman recently completed his second season with the Razorbacks and returned the program to heights it had not seen since the mid-1990’s when the Hogs played in back-to-back national title games. He became the first Arkansas coach to win at least 20 games in each of his first two seasons, win as many as 45 games in his first two seasons and take the Razorbacks to the Elite Eight within his first two seasons.

Arkansas finished sixth in the final USA TODAY coaches poll (voted upon after the NCAA Tournament) and #10 in the Associated Press poll (which did not factor in the NCAA Tournament). It was the first time since 1995 Arkansas ended the season among the nation’s top 10.

“Arkansas is one of the premier programs in the nation and my family and I are ecstatic to be here,” Musselman said. “I am grateful for the commitment the University is making to me, my family and the future of our basketball program. I have tremendous pride in being a Razorback and it is an honor to represent the state of Arkansas. Our staff remains focused on winning basketball games and building our roster for the future. We look forward to continuing to build on the foundation we have established in our first two seasons in an effort to achieve even greater success for our program, our University and Razorback fans everywhere.”

Musselman will earn a one-time retention bonus of $1.5 million if he’s still the UA coach April 30, 2026. His contract buyout is $7.5 million should he leave before the end of the 2021-2022 season. The amount drops to $2 million through the 2023-24 season and $1 million through 2024-2025.

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