- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Board of Regents wants a permanent solution rather than a temporary fix for a policy that’s preventing the University of South Dakota from officially signing its new head football coach.

On Friday, the board told its executive director, Michael Rush, to continue working with schools on changes to a policy that prohibits multiyear contracts for non-faculty exempt employees, such as coaches. A formal vote would come at a later meeting.

University of South Dakota officials in December announced the hiring of Western Illinois coach Bob Nielson, and Nielson has been busy assembling his staff after agreeing to a $255,000 annual salary. But Nielson is seeking a long-term commitment, and current policy allows only one-year contracts.

“In that process it became apparent that the market expectations for Division I head coaches is at a point where multiyear contracts are an expectation,” Guilherme Costa, the board’s general counsel, said during the teleconference.

The board considered approving a one-time suspension of its policy, but members voiced their desire to develop a new permanent policy rather than grant a one-time exception.

USD Athletic Director David Herbster said he’s glad the board expressed no opposition to what the school is trying to do, and noted the decision will just put off the official contract signing a little longer. He said he explained the situation to Nielson and feels that the trust and relationship between the two remains strong.

“We’re going to do what we said we’re going to do for him,” Herbster said. “He was understanding of that.”

When Coyotes’ coach Joe Glenn announced he was retiring in November, school officials decided they would go after someone coaching in the same conference - the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Glenn earned $147,000 last year, but the conference’s average annual salary for head coaches has grown to $250,000, and officials knew any qualified candidate would want the security of a multiyear deal.

University officials have not yet announced the length of the proposed deal.

Nielson, 56, led the Leathernecks for three years, including this past season’s 7-6 record and an FCS playoffs appearance, earning him the conference’s honor of Coach of the Year. It was the first playoff appearance for the Leathernecks since 2010.


Follow Dirk Lammers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ddlammers

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