ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - When Steve Alford bolted to UCLA last weekend, he left behind a bit of unfinished business: How much does he owe the University of New Mexico for bailing on his contract to coach the men's basketball team?
Another question: Which of his contracts applies? The old with the $200,000 buyout for leaving early, or the new 10-year deal he'd committed to with the heftier $1 million buyout?
April 1 turns out to be the critical date. Under Alford's old contract, he would owe UNM the smaller amount because he left before April 1. That also was to be the effective date for the new contract and higher buyout.
"One way or the other there's a buyout," UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs said Saturday at a news conference with Alford. "How much that is Steve and I haven't talked about it.
"Our respective lawyers haven't talked about it."
Call that a pretty good clue UCLA and Alford think the buyout is 200 grand. Coincidentally, perhaps, UCLA gave Alford a $200,000 signing bonus.
So is UNM getting a raw deal? It depends:
- Illinois got $500,000 when Bill Self jumped ship for Kansas.
- UNLV also got a cool half-mill from Oklahoma when the Sooners poached Lon Kruger.
- Colorado State's new Head Coach Larry Eustachy has one of the harshest buyouts in the business: he'd owe CSU nearly $4 million if he leaves.
Then there are much smaller buyouts.
FGCU Head coach Andy Enfield was the hottest coach on the market after his team's Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Championship. USC hired Enfield away, and they're only sending $100,000 FGCU's way.
Krebs announced Alford's new deal 13 days ago and mentioned UNM might have to raise prices at the Pit to help pay cover the pay hike.
With Alford's former top assistant Craig Neal taking the helm of the UNM team and making almost $500,000 a year less than the ex-boss, Krebs hasn't said if those price hikes are now off the table.
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