Now in its third year, UConn Huskies head coach Randy Edsall’s contract is one of the most unorthodox in football. Many coaches have performance-based incentives, but they’re usually based on simple milestones — the bowl you reach, how many games you win, any conference titles.
Edsall’s are based on wins and losses, yeah, but also on a multitude of different offensive, defensive and special team stats. It’s a model that UConn athletic director Dave Benedict came up with after consulting with Coaches By the Numbers, an arm of Sportrac Analytics that provides advanced college football statistics to universities.
Unusual in the world of college sports, this contract has intermittently been the subject of ridicule for the national media, who can’t comprehend the concept of a contract designed to reward incentives other than winning, like Benedict designed it to.
This is real. So incredibly tone deaf structuring a contract like this https://t.co/WMey7aMzHM— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 8, 2019
UConn loses to Tulsa, 49-19, dropping record to 1-8. Huskies coach Randy Edsall will get bonus of at least $2,000 — amount he gets whenever UConn scores first— Steve Berkowitz (@ByBerkowitz) November 4, 2018
Never mind that Edsall is the second-lowest-paid coach in the AAC, that the total bonus caps out at $150,000, never mind that he reportedly paid for an assistant’s raise out of his own pocket, or that he’s promised to match donations to the university.
The athletic department figured that Edsall might not get to do much winning in his first few years, so they wanted to reward other ways the team might make progress.
I decided to map out Edsall’s incentives, tracking them through every week of the season. The bonuses are split up into two categories: game-by-game marks and season-long goals.
The game-by-game incentives detailed in his contract range from stats as basic as wins and losses to relatively more complex ones, like red zone efficiency. If UConn outplays their opponent in these statistics, the bonuses are conveyed.
The season-long marks break down into two categories: Points-per-game marks, and where they rank in the AAC in eight categories. The PPG bonuses have their own monetary scale listed on the right, while the AAC categories are all worth the same.
UConn (and Edsall) did a heck of a lot better against Wagner than Illinois, despite the low margin of victory, so a ton more bonuses were conveyed. He’s already over halfway to last year’s total of $56,000, a little less than if don’t count the Huskies’ red zone efficiency, which might regress to the mean. Since so many of the season-long incentives are tied to the AAC, it’s unclear how the contract will function past this year, when the Huskies exit the conference for independence.
If you’re interested in playing around with the full spreadsheet, or want to see how the full details of the calculations, click here.