Basketball coach Kayla Karius signs groundbreaking contract at UWGB

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay attempted to make Sundance Wicks the highest-paid coach in school history after it signed the men’s basketball coach to an extension last month that was set to pay him $300,000 next season.

Wicks bolted for Wyoming before he was paid a dime, which means Kayla Kariusnow holds the designation.

When Karius was named the women’s basketball coach in April, she signed a five-year contract that will pay her $255,000 per season.

Karius’ contract is notable in another way. She is one of few women’s basketball coaches who make more than the men’s coach at the same school.

Although the contract for new UWGB men’s coach Doug Gottlieb is not available yet, his salary for at least the first year of his five-year contract will not be that high.

Karius’ annual salary is made up of a $200,000 base salary in addition to $55,000 through the UW-Green Bay Foundation.

Karius also has an opportunity to earn additional compensation for performance goals each season, many of which are realistic considering how much success the program has enjoyed in recent decades.

She will receive $7,500 for winning at least a share of a Horizon League regular-season championship and $10,000 for a Horizon League tournament title.

It gets even better with success in the NCAA Tournament.

Karius receives $10,000 each for an opening-round win and a second-round win, $20,000 for making a Sweet 16, $50,000 for an Elite 8, $100,000 for a Final 4 and $250,000 for winning a national championship.

She will receive $2,500 for either a WBIT or WNIT appearance and $1,000 for each win. If the Phoenix captures a title in either of the tournaments, Karius will earn $10,000.

A national coach of the year honor nets her $10,000 and a Horizon League coach of the year is worth $5,000.

Each win over a Power Five or Big East conference opponent is worth $2,500. Each NET top 50 win — which will be determined at the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament — will earn Karius $2,500.

If Karius decides to take another coaching position with a DI school before her contract is complete, UWGB will receive a buyout the way it did when Wicks was hired at Wyoming.

If she leaves any time prior to the Friday after the 2026 national title game, the liquidated damages will be equivalent to two times the total base salary due for the prior contract year.

The buyout is $300,000 prior to the national title game in 2027, $100,000 in 2028 and $50,000 in 2029.

Thanks in part to its fundraising, UWGB had the ability to step up and land Karius after she spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at South Dakota.

That likely wouldn’t have been possible in the past, unless Karius was willing to leave money on the table for the opportunity to return home and coach at her alma mater.

“We are on a good path, we have had a lot of folks step up, so we appreciate that,” UWGB athletic director Josh Moon recently said about fundraising efforts. “I do think there is so much more potential to really move the needle, not just for basketball, but for all of our programs in this department and university.

“That’s cool. We have got people that believe. A lot of these folks believe to their core that this is so important. That Division I athletics and successful programs are so important to the fabric of life here.”

AD Josh Moon gets raise with his extension

Wicks received a big raise before he left. Karius’ contract is groundbreaking for women’s coaches at UWGB.

The man who signed both coaches earned his own raise recently when UWGB signed Moon to an extension that could keep him at the school through 2029.

Moon will earn $235,000 per year under the new agreement.

His annual salary is made up of a $205,000 base salary in addition to $30,000 through the UW-Green Bay Foundation.

Among the incentives include $5,000 for a first round or first four win in either the men’s or women’s basketball NCAA Tournament, $10,000 for advancing to the Sweet 16, $15,000 for a Sweet 16 win, $30,000 for advancing to a Final Four, $50,000 for advancing to the title game and $100,000 for winning a national championship.

Moon also earns a $4,000 bonus for a regular-season men’s or women’s Horizon championship, $7,500 for a conference tournament title and a $5,000 bonus for any qualification outside of the automatic qualification process.

Moon received a four-year contract that included a base salary of $180,000 per year when he was hired in July 2021 after spending the previous nine seasons as AD at NCAA Division II Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

“When we hired Josh, in my wildest dreams I would not believe where our athletic department has gone in the last three years under his leadership,” UWGB Chancellor Michael Alexander said Wednesday. “Amazing progress that has occurred. One of the things that you need as a leader, and Josh has it in spades, is courage. You have got to block out the noise, you have got to understand where you are going and you have got to understand how you are going to get there.

“We have got a leader of our athletic program who gets that and is doing that.”

Source: Basketball coach Kayla Karius signs groundbreaking contract at UWGB

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