George O’Leary, who retired as UCF's football coach on Sunday, will be paid at least $200,000 a year through 2020, according to a school spokesman and documents from 2014 and earlier this year that the school did not release until Monday.
The documents also show that in April 2014, UCF and O’Leary agreed to reduce his coaching term by two years — to Jan. 4, 2016, from Jan. 4, 2018 — but extend his employment with the athletics department through March 15, 2020.
UCF’s athletics department is organized under a Florida statute that allows it to claim exemption from the state’s open-records law.
Until last spring, however, the department had voluntarily complied with requests from USA TODAY Sports for various employment contracts and financial reports. Among the contracts were O’Leary’s original employment agreement and three amendments, the last of which was dated January 2014. It had become effective Jan. 1, 2014, maintained the expiration date of Jan. 4, 2018, and included pay increases in the wake of a season in which the Knights went 12-1 and defeated Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.
When USA TODAY Sports filed an open-records request in May 2015 for O’Leary’s most recent contract documents and those of the UCF football assistant coaches, the university did not provide any documents for O’Leary beyond those it had provided in 2014.
Instead, in advance of USA TODAY Sports’ recent publication of Bowl Subdivision head coaches’ compensation, UCF’s athletics department provided a confirmation of O’Leary’s scheduled compensation for his current contract year and confirmation of the maximum amount of bonus money he could receive. (USA TODAY Sports’ request for the assistant coaches’ documents is still pending.)
O’Leary had been due to make $1.89 million during the contract year and be eligible for up to $750,000 in bonuses.
On Monday, the university released two more amendments to O’Leary’s contract.
—One was approved in April 2014 and carried an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014. It included a provision under which the parties agreed that O’Leary would be employed as the head football coach through Jan. 4, 2016, then become “Special Liaison to the Director of Athletics on Football Operations” from Jan. 5, 2016, through March 15, 2020. Under the arrangement, O’Leary was to be paid $200,000 a year in the new role, under which he would not be required to render more than 12 hours of service to the athletics department in any one year.
In addition, if the athletics department were to determine that “termination … is in its best interests,” it would continue to pay O’Leary the $200,000 a year through March 15, 2020.
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“Following the Fiesta Bowl victory, UCF agreed to this provision in recognition of the accomplishments of the football program throughout Coach O’Leary’s career, both on the field and in the classroom,” Grant J. Heston, UCF’s vice president for communications and marketing, said in a statement.
—The other amendment was approved in July 2015, when O’Leary — in addition to remaining head football coach — became UCF’s interim athletics director, replacing Todd Stansbury, who had departed for Oregon State.
Under this agreement, O’Leary was to serve as interim AD until Jan. 15, 2016, but provide written notice by Oct. 15 of whether he wished to seek the AD job on a permanent basis. O'Leary resigned as the interim AD on Oct. 12.
O’Leary received no additional compensation for becoming the interim AD, but his future compensation for the special liaison job was scheduled to increase to $235,000 per year.
“The amount was increased as a result of Coach O’Leary becoming interim athletic director,” university spokesman Chad Binette told USA TODAY Sports via e-mail. “It will be adjusted downward due to him resigning from that position early.”
Binette said he did not the specific amount that O’Leary will now be paid annually, but he said it would not be less than the $200,000 per year called for under the prior amendment.
When asked if it has been determined whether O’Leary will go forward in the special liaison role, Binette said via e-mail that yes, O'Leary would serve in that role.