WVU Notebook: Mazey’s Contract, Men’s Hoop Schedule
West Virginia checked off an important off-season task on the baseball front when it completed negotiations and extended the contract term of head coach Randy Mazey. The extended deal runs through the 2025 season, and makes his yearly base pay $415,000.
The interesting part of the contract is in performance incentives. Potentially, Mazey could earn more than his annual salary were he to snare all of the bonuses available to him. That would include such items as winning the College World Series and being named coach of the year, so those aren’t going to occur on an annual basis, but they are available for the getting.
With that in mind, which of the bonuses might he routinely achieve — that is, more often than not over the life of the contract?
Participation in the Big 12 tournament ($5,000) is a lock. NCAA tournament participation also figures to be a routine, if not every year, occurence, so that $25,000 gets added. Hosting a regional is tough, as is advancing to a Super Regional, and although it’s probably going to happen over the next six years, predicting it three or more times is a reach.
Finishing in the Top 25 is a really good achievement, and doing so more than 50% of the time is even more so. It’s tough, but we’ll put this one in Mazey’s corner. Add in another $25,000. At some point, he’s also going to be selected as a coach of the year, but that’s very unlikely to occur three or more times, so it doesn’t make our threshold. Mazey also gets a stairstepped payout for season ticket sales, and the bar there is another step up. WVU sold 400 season tickets last year, so a 25% increase in that number will be needed to get to the bottom rung of that ladder. It seems reasonable, though, to assume that will happen, given WVU’s recent success, so add another $2,000 to the total. Finally, barring any unexpected events, Mazey’s teams should exceed the APR threshold of 930 each year — last year’s number was 971 — so put that $4,000 in the earned column.
Add it all up, and it would be another $61,000 each year — and the view from from here says that’s a great bargain for WVU. Mazey has been nothing short of excellent in taking a moribund program in a non-traditional baseball area and making it a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12 and on the national scene. Of course, the hope is that he earns more of those bonuses, because they will be the result of even more team and program success. And if WVU has that magical season, wins the Big 12, makes a CWS run and Mazey earns a coach of the year honor? A one-year payout of $200,000 or more in performance incentives would be well-earned by the veteran coach, and a positive for the Mountaineer program too.
Randy Mazey’s 2020-25 Performance Incentives
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In the quick-moving, often topsy-turvy world of collegiate coaching, West Virginia’s men’s basketball staff is a picture of stability. Head coach Bob Huggins, along with assistants Larry Harrison and Erik Martin, are entering their 13th seasons at WVU, while Ron Everhart is embarking on his eighth. Not only that, but director of basketball operations Josh Eilert is also starting his 13th year with the Mountaineers.
If nothing else, there’s no doubt that ths group knows each other well, knows how to to work together, and is in tune with exactly what Huggins does and how he wants to accomplish it.
Huggins recently said that he hopes he didn’t overschedule his young team, which features seven newcomers and nine players combined in the freshman and sophomore classes. Always in favor of toughening his teams with salty opposition, that might sound like a warning bell, but he’s also optimistic — and more than a bit rejuvenated — by the way in which his team has bonded and worked together in the offseason.
The schedule, though, is indeed a challenge. Akron is forecast to be experienced and deep, playing at Pitt is usually an adventure, and either South Carolina or Wichita State will be tough outs in Mexico, where Northern Iowa also awaits as a potential speed bump. Then there’s Youngstown State, where former Huggs assistant Jerrod Calhoun is building what should be his best team by far. Think he won’t be motivated by a chance to beat his mentor? Rhode Island, St. John’s, Ohio State and Missouri also line the non-conference schedule, leaving just four non-conference foes that could be considered check-off wins.
WVU won’t hide out at home, either. Of its 13 non-conference games, six occur away from the Coliseum. The Mountaineers have talent, but it is certainly going to be tested early.
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Finally, a note on offensive lienman Josh Sills and his season-ending surgery. First, it’s tough to see players who have gone through a year of work and preparation suddenly have it all end, at least for the near future. Sills joins defensive lineman Taijh Alston on that list for this season, and hopefully they can help support each other as they go through the rehabilitation process.
Surgery was a success! Now starts the recovery process for a bigger and healthier year ahead. Looking forward to the journey! pic.twitter.com/rWnxjkrJVr
— Josh Sills (@josh_sills73) September 24, 2019
On the field, this is a huge blow for the Mountaineer offensive line. That’s not to say that the big guys up front are now doomed to a bad season, but it is a crushing blow for the depth of the unit. While WVU continues to try to get players ready for contributing roles, the fact is that the line has seen very little rotation in the past couple of weeks. The starting lineup of Colton McKivitz, James Gmiter, Briason Mays, Chase Behnrdt and Kelby Wickline has taken almost all of the scrimmage snaps over the past two games. John Hughes did play some at guard against N.C. State, but both he and Mike Brown were in for special teams line play only against Kansas. The Mountaineers really need that duo to get to the point where they can be counted on for regular duty.
The coaches involved, Neal Brown and Matt Moore, have noted that they want to, and will, play backups when the players are ready, so the assumption at this point is that the gap between the first five and the backups is significant enough to keep the rotation light. Sills was obviously a frontline player, even hampered with his shoulder injury, so his loss can’t be overstated. Hughes and Brown are the leading candidates, but Brown mentioned some others that might be ready for play later in the year. How much later, and the amount which they can play, are the questions to be answered.
The line has improved from the start of the season to this point, without a doubt. Can it continue that arc with an iron five? That’s a key area to watch as a very tough October awaits the Mountaineers.