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Jedd Fisch will be paid in excess of $2.6 million per year to coach Arizona Wildcats
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Jedd Fisch will be paid in excess of $2.6 million per year to coach Arizona Wildcats

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Arizona hires Patriots assistant Fisch as head coach

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, left, stands beside quarterback coach Jedd Fisch before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Foxborough, Mass. Arizona is hiring New England Patriots assistant Jedd Fisch as its head coach, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. Fisch is filling the vacancy created when Arizona fired Kevin Sumlin earlier this month after the Wildcats finished the season winless, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the school was still preparing an official announcement.

Jedd Fisch will make in excess of $2.6 million per year as Arizona's new head football coach, according to a term sheet released by the university in the minutes leading up to Wednesday's news conference to introduce him.

Fisch, the former quarterbacks coach of the New England Patriots and a first-time head coach, was given a five-year deal. He will make $1.8 million in base salary in the first two seasons, plus $500,000 for peripheral duties, $100,000 from IMG and $200,000 from Nike. Fisch's base salary will rise to $2 million in the 2023 season, $2.2 million in 2024 and $2.3 million in 2025. Fisch will make significantly more than the $1.1 million base that the UA paid former coach Kevin Sumlin in his first two seasons, though Sumlin's base pay rose to $2.6 million this season.

Fisch can also cash in on bonuses that range from winning the Pac-12 South ($100,000) and the Pac-12 title game ($200,000) to finishing ranked in the AP's top 25 ($25,000), though the bonuses are capped at a figure that was not immediately made available. He will also receive $100,000 per year in a retention bonus, though the money will only vest if Fisch remains Arizona's coach on Nov. 30, 2024.

If Arizona fires Fisch before that date, it owes him 65% of his remaining salary. If Fisch leaves, he owes the UA significantly more — $6 million if it happens in Year 1, with the figure dropping to $5 million in Year 2, $3 million in Year 3, $1.5 million in Year 4 and $1 million if he leaves in Year 5. That clause could be significant given Fisch's itinerant history: the UA is his eighth employer since 2010.

Fisch's deal comes with a mitigation clause, meaning he has an obligation to seek employment if he is fired by the UA — and that any money he makes would be subtracted from the money owed him by the university.

The UA fired Sumlin earlier this month, agreeing to pay "all buyout provisions" — though the exact figure is the subject of some dispute. Sumlin’s buyout was $7.29 million at the time of his firing, but was set to drop to $5 million on Jan. 15.

The UA's assistant coaches' salary pool is budgeted at $3.7 million per year under Fisch, an increase over the $3.4 million annual budget given Sumlin for his staff. Arizona actually spent $3.07 million on coaches in the 2020 season, an amount that ranks dead last among the 48 Power Five conference schools who reported their numbers to USA Today as part of its annual salary survey.

Fisch will take a 20% paycut from his 2021 base salary as part of the university's campus-wide salary reduction program, as noted by the UA on the term sheet.

A PDF of Fisch's term sheet is below:

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