When Mike Eaves was hired to coach his alma mater in 2002, two questions were raised. Could Eaves take Wisconsin back into national contention, and if so, would he stick around?
The first question was answered in the affirmative when Eaves led the Badgers into the NCAA tournament each of the last two seasons. Now, the second answer appears to be a yes, as well.
Eaves has agreed to a new five-year contract at $250,000 per year in total compensation, school officials announced Friday after the university’s Athletic Board’s monthly meeting.
Eaves’ base salary will be $200,000 annually, a raise of $63,000 over his original deal. The new contract also includes a deferred five-year annuity worth $50,000 annually, bringing the total contract package to a value of $1.25 million.
“You pay a guy what he’s worth, and you pay a guy what that sport or his job commands,” Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told the Capital Times of Madison.
“I think he’s an elite coach, I think he’s the guy I want to lead my program. It’s a reward for taking our program where it is.”
Last season, the Badgers compiled a 23-14-4 record en route to their second straight NCAA tournament appearance. In three years as Wisconsin head coach, Eaves, 48, has compiled a record of 58-50-16.
Wisconsin officials indicated that Eaves’ new package places him third in the nation in total compensation, trailing two fellow WCHA coaches: Don Lucia of Minnesota and Denver’s George Gwozdecky. Lucia’s package, including performance bonuses and benefits, totals potential earnings of over $350,000 per year, while Gwozdecky’s pay is believed to be similar to Eaves’ new deal.