Kansas coach Lance Leipold signs lucrative contract extension

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Lance Leipold has signed his lucrative contract extension at Kansas, which includes a massive pay raise for the Jayhawks’ football coach along with his assistants and staff, and could keep him tied to the school through the 2029 season.

Under terms of the contract, which was agreed to last week and made public Tuesday, Leipold will make $5 million in the first year of the deal with annual $100,000 increases. Leipold also gets a $750,000 signing bonus while his buyout rises to $12.5 million before gradually decreasing over time.

His original contract was a $16.5 million, six-year pact that paid him $2.2 million last year with $200,000 increases each season. Leipold had a year added to the deal Sept. 1 before leading the Jayhawks to a 5-0 start and spot in the Top 25; the Jayhawks dealt with injuries down the stretch and finished 6-6 for their first bowl appearance since 2008.

“When we hired Lance Leipold 19 months ago, we were confident we had found the ideal fit for KU and that has been reinforced every single day since his arrival,” Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said. “In short order, Lance and his family have engrained themselves in the Lawrence community and have made an impact that extends far beyond the football program, to the broader university and Lawrence communities.

“This new contract, along with the upcoming investment in our facilities, are a direct reflection of our profound commitment to building a first-class football program – one that will be a point of pride for all Jayhawks for years to come.”

The contract includes numerous incentives: $500,000 for playing for a national championship, $350,000 for appearing in the College Football Playoff semifinal, $250,000 for the quarterfinals and $200,000 for the first round. Leipold would make $150,000 for playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game, $100,000 for any other bowl game and $150,000 for playing for the Big 12 championship. He also could earn $50,000 simply for reaching seven regular-season wins.

Other benefits include $100,000 for being national coach of the year, $50,000 for Big 12 coach of the year and $75,000 for academic benchmarks. Leipold also gets the use of two cars, $125,000 in private air travel, tickets to football and basketball games and memberships at the Jayhawk Club and Lawrence Country Club.

The contract also takes care of Leipold’s staff, allocating a pool of $5 million for assistant coaches and the strength coach with an additional $100,000 available each year, and $2.5 million for the rest of the football staff with the same increases.

“My wife Kelly and I couldn’t be more excited to know we are going to be staying in Lawrence for a very long time,” said Leipold, whose name had surfaced in connection to open jobs at Wisconsin and Nebraska that have since been filled.

“We have said from the start how happy we are here, and that we plan on being here for a very long time,” Leipold said. “Since the moment we arrived, we have been welcomed and accepted by the Lawrence and KU communities, and we are very grateful. We are very proud of the progress the program has made over the last 18 months and even more excited about what the future holds as we continue to build a program that will make Jayhawk fans everywhere proud.”

Report: Kansas gives Lance Leipold 2-year extension

Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas and Lance Leipold have agreed to their second contract extension in less than three months, this time adding two years to his deal and keeping him tied to the Jayhawks through the 2029 season, a person familiar with the terms told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school had not announced the extension.

Leipold had a year added to his original contract on Sept. 1 as a reward for a two-win first season that raised hopes around Lawrence that the football program might return to relevance. But after a 5-0 start had the Jayhawks ranked in the AP Top 25, and a sixth win made them bowl-eligible, the school aggressively moved to lock up Leipold well into the future – especially with Nebraska and Wisconsin, where he has deep connections, in the market for coaches.

Leipold’s original contract was a $16.5 million, six-year pact that paid him $2.2 million in its initial season with $200,000 increases each year. He also would earn $50,000 for finishing in the Top 25, earning Big 12 coach of the year or winning seven regular-season games, a threshold he can clear with a win over rival Kansas State.

He’s already earned a $100,000 bonus for qualifying for a bowl and can earn another $75,000 for academic benchmarks.

Leipold was hired early last year, shortly after the Jayhawks parted with Les Miles amid sexual harassment allegations from his time at LSU. The scandal led to the ouster of Jeff Long, his longtime friend and the athletic director who hired him.

Kansas eventually gave the AD job to Travis Goff, and his first major move was to pluck Leipold – who won six Division III titles at Wisconsin-Whitewater – from Buffalo, which he had taken to three straight bowl games.

Leipold was a popular pick among Jayhawks fans because of his Midwest pedigree, small-town roots and success in building programs, and his old-school demeanor on the field fit seamlessly with the values of the school.

Despite having no offseason or time to put together a full recruiting class, Leipold managed to lead the Jayhawks to an upset of Texas late last season, and then carried the momentum right into this year. They ripped off five consecutive wins before losing quarterback Jalon Daniels to a shoulder injury, then toppled Oklahoma State with backup Jason Bean under center to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since the 2008 season.

Kansas will try to snap a 13-game losing streak to Kansas State in their regular-season finale.

The extension for Leipold is the latest investment in football for a school primarily known for its national champion men’s basketball program. Kansas officials announced plans last month for a long-awaited renovation to Memorial Stadium, part of a project that could exceed $300 million and include new conference, entertainment and retail spaces.

Dillon Gabriel helps Oklahoma top No. 19 Kansas, end skid at 3 games

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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NORMAN, Okla. — Dillon Gabriel looked all healed up.

The Oklahoma quarterback passed for 403 yards and two touchdowns in his first game back after a concussion, and the Sooners defeated No. 19 Kansas 52-42 to end their three-game losing streak.

Gabriel was injured in the second quarter of Oklahoma’s loss to TCU on October 1, and the team’s offense had sputtered in nearly seven quarters without him heading into the Kansas game. But a week after the Sooners were held to 195 yards against Texas, Oklahoma (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) exploded for 701 yards against the Jayhawks.

Gabriel had been in concussion protocol, but he passed tests during the week, clearing the way for him to play.

“I’m grateful for every opportunity I step out there because I know this game is aggressive,” he said.

Gabriel also ran 10 times for 37 yards and a touchdown, often sliding well before Kansas defenders had a chance to hit him.

“It’s football,” he said. “I’m going to get hit. Just being smart. Trying to protect myself, but also not taking any unnecessary hits.”

Kansas had been one of the nation’s darlings so far this season, surprising experts by winning five straight games to start the season and pushing TCU before losing 34-27 the previous week.

But Eric Gray ran for 176 yards, Marvin Mims had a career-high nine catches for 106 yards and Brayden Willis had five catches for a career-best 102 yards for the Sooners, who relieved some of the pressure that had been building for first-year coach Brent Venables.

It was Oklahoma’s 18th straight win over Kansas, with all the victories coming by double digits. The Sooners haven’t lost to the Jayhawks since 1997.

“I love seeing our guys in victory formation there at the end,” Venables said. “It was a good, hard fought win, dragging ourselves off the mat and getting back on the saddle.”

Filling in for the injured Jalon Daniels (shoulder), Jason Bean passed for 265 yards and four touchdowns for Kansas. Daniels was hurt in the loss to TCU.

Lawrence Arnold had 113 yards and two touchdowns receiving and Mason Fairchild had 106 yards and caught two touchdown passes for Kansas. The Jayhawks (5-2, 2-2) lost their second straight and missed out on the chance to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2008.

Gabriel completed 21 of 29 passes for 304 yards in the first half to help the Sooners take a 35-21 lead. The Sooners’ 487 yards in the first half were the second-most gained in a half in school history, trailing the 507 gained in the first half against Missouri in 1986.

“They came out clicking on all cylinders,” Kansas coach Lance Leipold said. “They played very well, very aggressive. I think we were on our heels most of the day. It was like they were playing downhill.”

Gray had 124 yards rushing in the first half, eclipsing his previous high as a Sooner before the break. The Sooners kept the Jayhawks at bay in the second half, controlling the ball for more than 17 minutes.

“Their backs were to the wall a little bit in this situation, and they came out and played extremely well,” Leipold said. “And we didn’t quite match that. And we’ve got to find a way if we want to be that type of team, that we can do that.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Kansas: If not for three Oklahoma turnovers and a goal-line stand by the Jayhawks on the final play of the second quarter, the Sooners would have done even more damage.

Oklahoma: The Sooners showed they could run the ball and chew up the clock if necessary. They ran for 298 yards and had the advantage in time of possession for the first time this season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Even though Oklahoma has the reputation and was favored, Kansas lost to an unranked team and could drop out of the Top 25.

UNITY UNIFORM

Oklahoma honored running back Prentice Gautt, the first Black scholarship football player at the school, by wearing a “Unity” uniform.

Gautt starred on coach Bud Wilkinson’s teams from 1957 to 1959. He was an All-Big Eight Conference selection twice and was an Academic All-American in 1958.

The uniform, designed by a group of the school’s athletes, featured dark gray jerseys, pants and helmets with crimson trim and lettering. It had the word “TOGETHER” sewn on the collar, the word “UNITY” on the back-of-the-jersey nameplate and an outline of the state of Oklahoma on the sleeves.

INJURED JAYHAWK

Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant left the game after suffering an injury to his left ankle in the closing seconds of the first half.

Bryant left on a cart and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Leipold said it is a “wait-and-see” situation.

UP NEXT

Kansas visits Baylor.

Oklahoma visits Iowa State on Oct. 29.