- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2011

George Mason basketball coach Paul Hewitt will earn a base salary of $659,750 in the first season of a five-year contract, with bonuses available to significantly add to the value of the deal.

Hewitt’s contract was obtained through an open records request with the school and is similar in structure but more lucrative in many ways than Mason’s agreement with former coach Jim Larranaga, who left the school after 14 seasons for Miami in April.

Hewitt, the former coach at Georgia Tech, was hired a little more than a week later, and his contract - like the boost in assistant coach pay revealed last month - demonstrates Mason’s commitment to maintaining and building its signature athletic program. The Patriots reached the Final Four in 2006 and advanced to the NCAA tournament’s round of 32 last season.

For example, Hewitt will receive a longevity bonus of $85,000 for each year he remains at Mason through March 1. The annual longevity bonus in Larranaga’s 2008 extension was $75,000.

Hewitt also will annually receive $20,000 for winning 19 regular-season games, an additional $25,000 for winning 22 regular-season games and an additional $25,000 for earning 25 regular-season victories. Larranaga received $10,000 for reaching the 19-win plateau each regular season and $15,000 when the Patriots won 22 regular-season games.

The contract stipulates Hewitt will receive $50,000 for reaching the NCAA tournament, and an additional $50,000 for each win while advancing to the rounds of 32, 16 and eight. A Final Four appearance would net Hewitt another $75,000, while a national title would add an additional $100,000.

Hewitt also receives $10,000 for an NIT appearance, a bonus of 10 percent of his base pay for reaching the NIT semifinals and an additional 20 percent of his base pay for winning the NIT.

An academic component also is included. Hewitt can earn between $35,000 and $75,000 based on the Patriots’ team GPA. He also will collect $10,000 if he is named the CAA coach of the year and $25,000 if he earns any national coach of the year honors. Larranaga’s bonuses for those honors were $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Among other perks, Hewitt receives access to a $5,000 enhancement fund managed by the university, a golf club membership, a loaned vehicle, 25 tickets to each game and housing assistance for up to a year after signing the contract.

Mason would owe Hewitt the remaining base salary on the contract should it fire him without cause before the deal expires. Likewise, Hewitt would owe the school the balance of the base salary on the contract if he “resigns or otherwise voluntarily terminates his employment to accept any sports- or media-related position.”



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