Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne announced Monday that Coach Bo Pelini has signed a new contract that moves the second-year Husker head coach into the middle of the salaries of Big 12 head football coaches.
Pelini’s contract, which runs through Feb. 28, 2014, pays him $1.851 million annually, making him the sixth-highest paid coach in the conference. Pelini was hired as Nebraska’s head coach on Dec. 2, 2007, and signed a five-year deal worth $1.1 million annually at that time. The new contract adds an additional year to the length of the contract.
Osborne noted that the general direction of the Nebraska program under Pelini’s guidance has improved in many areas and that he had earned the new contract.
“When you compare Bo’s performance and experience with other coaches, he was certainly deserving of a significant salary increase,” Osborne said. “We made good progress in one year under Bo’s leadership and we are confident he has our program moving in the right direction.”
Pelini guided Nebraska to a 9-4 record in his first season as a head coach, including victories in six of the Huskers’ final seven games. He became just the fourth Nebraska coach to win nine games in their first season, joining Osborne, Bob Devaney and Frank Solich.
The 9-4 mark was also the best among first-time head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and tied for the most among any of the 18 coaches in their first year at their respective schools. Nebraska also tied for the Big 12 North title, making Pelini the first coach in Big 12 history to lead his team to at least a share of a division championship in his first season. Pelini and his staff also orchestrated great improvement on the defensive side of the ball. In 2008, Nebraska was the nation’s most improved unit in rushing defense and sacks, while ranking as the fourth-most improved team in total defense.
Osborne also announced pay increases for Nebraska’s nine full-time assistant coaches. The increases push Nebraska’s salary pool for assistant coaches to just less than $2 million, the sixth-highest total among Big 12 Conference schools.
“Our football program being successful is vitally important to our athletic department, our university and ultimately to the state of Nebraska,” Osborne said. “It is important that our coaches are fairly compensated and we remain competitive within the conference. Bo has put an outstanding staff together, and we would like to keep them. I know first-hand that continuity on your coaching staff can provide a big advantage.”
Pelini said he was pleased with the support he has received during his tenure as head coach and looks forward to his future at Nebraska.
“I am very appreciative of the commitment Coach Osborne and our administration have made to our football program and our coaching staff,” Pelini said. “Working for Coach Osborne is a great situation, and as I said when I was hired, it is an honor to be here at Nebraska as the head coach. I hope to be in this position for a long time and help get this program back to the top of college football.”