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LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech’s football coaching staff turnover between the 2018 and 2019 seasons will wind up costing its athletics department nearly $6.6 million.
Almost two-thirds of that amount are payments to cover the contract buyout of Kliff Kingsbury, fired after the 2018 season, but Tech also made payments to 16 other former staff members after the coaching change.
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs, offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and co-offensive coordinator Clay McGuire, all of whom lost their jobs with Kingsbury’s dismissals, continued to receive monthly payments from Tech throughout 2019 while they coached elsewhere.
“It’s something that was budgeted for, so prepared for,” Tech senior associate athletics director Robert Giovannetti said. “It’s part of the business, right? You understand it’s a part of the business and you chalk that up to cost of doing business and don’t let it affect the way you run your operation.”
Tech provided the detailed breakdown to A-J Media this week, days after the Jan. 5 due date on Kingsbury’s buyout amount for 2019. Giovannetti said that payment of $1.95 million, less applicable taxes and withholding, recently was deposited into Kingsbury’s account.
Giovannetti said the buyouts due multiple former staff members are taken from athletics department reserves and factored into the annual operating budget. The cost of the coaching transition is $2.289 million in fiscal year 2019, $2.24 million in fiscal year 2020 and $2.05 million in fiscal year 2021.
Tech’s athletics budget for the current fiscal year is $93.6 million.
Ultimately, Kingsbury will receive $4,283,807 in severance pay. Tech paid him $283,807 in January 2019 for the uncompleted year of his contract after his dismissal. The last two years of his contract contained 50 percent guaranteed money in the event of his being fired without cause, as happened.
The $1.95 million was half the $3.9 million he would have made for coaching Tech in 2019, and he is due $2.05 million in January 2021, half the $4.1 million he was to make for coaching the Red Raiders in 2020.
After being let go by Tech, Kingsbury briefly worked last winter as offensive coordinator at Southern California, but then was hired as head coach by the Arizona Cardinals. He just finished his first year with the NFL team, which improved from 3-13 in 2018 to 5-10-1 this season.
Tech fired Kingsbury on Nov. 25, 2018, and hired Matt Wells four days later. Subsequent to that, it continued to pay nine of Kingsbury’s 10 on-field assistants, his strength and conditioning staff, chief of staff and director of player development.
It finished paying most in January or February, but three former assistants remained on the payroll throughout 2019. Tech paid Gibbs $429,557, Johns $216,071 and McGuire $118,750.
During the 2019 season, Gibbs was defensive backs coach at Missouri, Johns was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Memphis, and McGuire was offensive line coach at Texas State.
Several assistants had clauses in their contracts reducing Tech’s obligation by the difference between what they were guaranteed by Tech and what they were paid in subsequent jobs. In that way, Tech saved $1.57 million on nine of the former assistants.
Kingsbury’s contract did not have such a clause, meaning Tech is obligated to pay him the full buyout regardless of his subsequent earnings from USC and the Arizona Cardinals.
In addition to paying former staff members, Tech also paid Wells and current assistants Mark Tommerdahl and DeAndre Smith a total of $887,429 so they could make buyouts to their former schools in the process of joining the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech coaching transition
A financial breakdown of Texas Tech’s payments related to the football coaching staff transition between the 2018 and 2019 seasons:
Kliff Kingsbury $2,233,807
Payments: $283,807 in February, $1,950,000 in January 2020
David Gibbs $429,557 (paid all year)
Kevin Johns $216,071 (paid all year)
Clay McGuire $118,750 (paid all year)
Adam Scheier $82,341 (last paid in March)
Clay Jennings $44,841 (last paid in February)
Terrance Jamison $40,000 (last paid in December 2018)
Brett Dewhurst $21,506 (last paid in January 2019)
Brandon Jones $6,448 (last paid in December 2018)
Emmett Jones $3,968 (last paid in December 2018)
Chief of staff
Kenny Bell $30,246 (last paid in January 2019)
Director of player development
Manny Ramirez $24,603 (last paid in February)
Strength and conditioning staff
Rusty Whitt $22,395 (last paid in January 2019)
Adam Hymel $19,762 (last paid in February)
Jeffery Earls $13,914 (last paid in February)
Dwain Bradshaw $11,706 (last paid in February)
Scott Salwasser $10,889 (last paid in January 2019)
Kliff Kingsbury $2,050,000 (due by Jan. 5, 2021)
Total contractual to former staff: $5,380,806
Incoming staff related to transition
Estimated moving expenses for new staff: $310,200
Buyouts for coaches Matt Wells, Mark Tommerdahl and DeAndre Smith: $887,429
Breakdown by fiscal year
Fiscal year 2019: $2,288,628
Fiscal year 2020: $2,239,808
Fiscal year 2021: $2,050,000
Grand total: $6,578,435
Amounts saved by contract mitigation
Brandon Jones $371,429
David Gibbs $328,776
Zac Spavital $325,556
Kevin Johns $227,262
Clay McGuire $207,917
Emmett Jones $46,032
Terrance Jamison $42,341
Clay Jennings $16,667
Brett Dewhurst $2,899
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