Kansas makes Lance Leipold one of the highest-paid coaches in the Big 12 after 9-4 season

It's the second significant raise for Leipold in the last 15 months

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 26: Head coach Lance Leipold of the Kansas Jayhawks lifts the championship trophy after the Jayhawks defeated the UNLV Rebels 49-36 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field on December 26, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Kansas now has one of the highest-paid football coaches in the Big 12.

A decade ago, the sentence above would be incomprehensible. But in February of 2024, it’s one that makes perfect sense given the conference realignment carousel and the way that Kansas football has emerged under coach Lance Leipold.

The school announced Wednesday that it had signed Leipold to a reworked contract through the 2029 season. Leipold’s new contract reportedly averages approximately $7 million a season and makes him one of the three highest-paid coaches in the conference without adding any years onto his previous contract.

"Today’s announcement is an indicator of two absolute truths surrounding Kansas Football – Lance Leipold is among the very best coaches and leaders in the country and the University of Kansas continues to be unwavering in its commitment to building a championship-caliber football program for the long haul," Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement. "Since Lance and his staff arrived in Lawrence, our program has seen exponential growth in every facet both on and off the field.

Kansas hired Leipold from Buffalo after the 2020 season and has made a bowl game in each of the past two seasons after a 2-10 campaign in 2021. Kansas finished the 2023 season at 9-4 and won the Guaranteed Rate Bowl over UNLV.

It was the first nine-win season for the Jayhawks since KU went 12-1 in 2007. Leipold made approximately $5 million in 2023 and had received a contract extension and a raise in November of 2022.

Before Leipold arrived at KU, Kansas had posted just one winning season since that Orange Bowl campaign nearly 17 years ago. The Jayhawks were 8-5 in 2008 and then cratered after Mark Mangino was fired following the 2009 season. Before Kansas went 6-7 in 2022, the Jayhawks won a combined 23 games from 2010-2020 and had four permanent head coaches.

Now, Kansas enters the 2024 season as one of the favorites to get to the Big 12 championship game as Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah arrive from the Pac-12. The Jayhawks return star QB Jalon Daniels after he missed much of the 2023 season because of a back injury. Daniels was the preseason offensive player of the year in the conference a season ago but was limited to just three games.