Buzz Williams’ Virginia Tech contract details

Buzz 1

(Paint Touches file photo)

One of the best things about public institutions in this country is that all contracts are public records, and must be released upon request. Paint Touches put that to good use,  requesting a copy of  Buzz Williams’ contract at Virginia Tech on on April 1. It took a while, but the results are in. No more speculation or sources, just cold hard facts.

And the facts match what we and other media have been saying for weeks. Buzz took a pay cut to leave Marquette. Whereas we have confirmed he would have made $2.8 million with MU next season, he will be making $2.3 million with the Hokies. 

Of that $2.3 million, the base salary will be $500,00, plus supplemental compensation of 1.8 million for “services in media relations and Hokie Club appearances.” By comparison, at Marquette, his base salary was $1.8 million, with $1 million in other compensation. Additionally, his compensation will increases by $100,000 every year.

But that was already filtered. What wasn’t known and what is much more interesting are the terms of his buyout, should he be fired without cause. Last year, the media raked UCLA and Steve Alford over the coals for his buyout ($10.3 million in the first three years, and $5.2 million in the next two). Buzz’s makes that look paltry.

If he is fired without “good cause,” Virginia Tech will still pay him his full salary until the expiration of his term in 2021. I repeat, unless Buzz leaves for a different job, he will be getting a raise from VT every year until 2021. Here is a rough sketch of what those sums look like:

  • VT will pay however much is left on the contract from date of notice
  • 18.2 million in first year
  • 15.9 million in second year
  • 13.5 million in third year
  • 11 million in fourth year
  • 8.4 million in fifth year
  • 5.7 million in sixth year

But wait, there’s more. There is no language in his contract saying these payments will stop should he find another job. So take this scenario: Buzz fails to gain traction in the ACC and is fired in 2017, before the automatic extensions kick in, after three bottom-dwelling seasons. He will still get the $2.6 million that he would have made the following year, as is usual. But he remains a hot commodity and is hired by TCU for $900,000 a year in 2018. That means he will get a full salary from both institutions that year, the next and the one after as well, something rather unheard of. In other words, Buzz isn’t getting fired without cause. No chance whatsoever.

Buyouts cut both ways though. Usually when payouts for a fired coach are that high, the buyout to go coach somewhere else is ridiculously high. Take another former Marquette coach as an example. Tom Crean signed a lucrative contract extension in 2012 that severely altered the buyout terms. LateNightHoops reported on it last year, and we have verified it by obtaining a copy of Crean’s old and new contracts at Indiana. If Crean is fired before July 1st 2015, he would be owed $12 million. However, if he leaves for another job before July 1t 2015, he would owe IU $8 million.

Buzz’ buyout is nowhere near as high. Here are the terms:

  • $7 million in first year
  • $3.5 million in second year
  • $1.5 million in third year
  • $900k in fourth year
  • $500k in fifth year
  • $250k any year after

So if he kills it at VT and Oklahoma State or Texas comes calling after march 24th 2014, the buyout is only $3.5 million. That’s still high, but nowhere near as high as Alford of Crean, particularly in comparison to what he would be owed. Long story short, Buzz has all the power in this deal.

And then some.

Much like at Marquette, Buzz will have a rolling contract that automatically grants him a year extension should he make it to June 30, 2017. That’s a long time for a guy as restless as Williams is, but automatic extensions are a thing of beauty in the volatile environment of college athletics.

Here are some other random tidbits of interest:

-VT will pay for his initiation fees and membership to the Blacksburg Country Club, the obvious place to find a butcher, baker or candlestick maker. 


  • 50k for winning the ACC “or conference with which the University is affiliated”
  • 25k for winning conference coach of the year
  • 25k for winning national coach of the year
  • Tournament bonuses (only one may apply)
    1.  25k for making NCAA Tournament
    2. 50k for making Round of 32
    3. 75k for making Sweet 16
    4. 100k for making Final Four
    5. 150k for winning the championship
  • 50k for APR score 960 or higher
  • 15k or team GPA of 2.6
  • 20k for GPA of 2.75
  • 25k for GPA of 3.0

-12 tickets to home games, 24 tickets to ACC Tourney games, 24 NCAA Tourney tickets
-12 tickets to home football games

-Budget of 725k to be split among 3 assistants. I’ve yet to confirm what Isaac Chew made at Marquette, but assume he took quite a haircut to follow Buzz to VT.

-Use of two new vehicles to be replaced every two years

-Two seats on the team plane for family members for road games or Tournament games

-Buzz’ signature, doe:
Picture 4

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4 Comments on “Buzz Williams’ Virginia Tech contract details”

  1. Scott
    May 14, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    Someone should send his signature to a handwriting expert for analysis. Compare his signature in his first months as MU’s coach to the signature on the Vcu contract. Crazy.

  2. Ryan
    May 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Nice research, really informative. Man, did Buzz ever clean up.

  3. Big AL
    May 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Solid research and analysis. Well played Andrei. Well played.

  4. May 22, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    and Buzz gets to fly commercial to do his recruiting. No more private jet. MU is in a much better place with that head case gone.

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