Lobo hoops coach Richard Pitino gets raise, extension. How much and how did his buyout change?

May 7—You break a 10-year NCAA Tournament drought, you get a raise.

Richard Pitino, entering his fourth offseason as the head coach of the UNM Lobo men's basketball team, has received a $50,000-per-year raise, upping his annual salary and compensation for the coming 2024-25 season to $1.2 million — fourth highest in the Mountain West conference, behind the top three programs by a significant margin.

He will be paid $1.4 million annually by the 2028-29 season, according a copy of the contract reviewed by the Journal.

"I'm truly grateful for the continued support and belief that President (Garnett) Stokes, Eddie (Nuñez, UNM's athletic director), our board of regents and of course our amazing fan base has shown me and my family over the last three years," Pitino in a news release from the school. "We did some great things this year and I look forward to building off that success. Our amazing fans deserve a winner and I will work tirelessly to deliver them a team they can be proud of."

Pitino's new contact pulls him even with newly hired UNM football coach Bronco Mendenhall at $1.2 million — making each the highest paid public employees in the state of New Mexico.

Mendenhall, who signed a memorandum of understanding in December when he was hired indicating he will earn $1.2 million in annual compensation with far more bonus/incentive opportunities than what's in Pitino's deal, has not yet signed a contract with UNM.

More wins, more fans

One year ago, UNM and Pitino agreed to a raise the salary and compensation package he was offered to take the job in 2021 following the program's six-win 2020-21 season in which the Lobos finished in last place in the Mountain West and had an NET ranking of 303 out of 351 Division I programs.

This past season, the Lobos went 26-10, won the Mountain West Tournament championship, finished 22nd in the NET rankings (out of 362 Division I programs) and ended the program's decade-long NCAA Tournament drought.

Nuñez noted the increased revenue the program has generated in each of Pitino's three seasons, including both marketing, fundraising and a return to the Top 25 in average home attendance in the Pit this past season with a Mountain West-best 13,042 average announced home attendance.

"We are excited to have Richard Pitino continue to lead our men's basketball program," Nuñez said in a school release. "His leadership has guided our program to greater success in each of his first three seasons, highlighted by last season's Mountain West Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. He has also been a tremendous representative of our university and ambassador of Lobo athletics throughout the community. Our recent on-court success has produced increased revenue, and we believe the best way to continue to foster that growth is to reinvest in the program."

The amendment to his current contract, which was signed in mid-April and made public Wednesday, also adjusts the buyouts for both the coach and university if he leaves the program.

The contract amendment was signed after Pitino was a finalist for the head coaching job at Louisville, but the Journal can confirm the raise was in the works since midway through the season, long before the Louisville job was even open.

Pitino also turned down an offer for the South Florida job before the 2023-24 season that would have reportedly paid him $1.8 million.

By the numbers

Pitino's salary is split into three chunks. His base salary of $400,000 isn't changing and won't change through the duration of his contract. His $50,000-a-year-raise will come through the two other chunks — media rights obligations and program promotion obligations.

Under his previous agreement, Pitino was to make $375,000 in each of those two obligations this contract year (contract years are April 1 through March 31). With the new deal, Pitino will earn $400,000 in both media rights and program promotion in the 2024-25 contract year; and he will continue to earn an additional $25,000 annually in each obligation through the duration of his contract.

His annual salary and compensation now will be:

$1.2 million — 2024-25 season$1.25 million — 2025-26 season$1.3 million — 2026-27 season$1.35 million — 2027-28 season$1.4 million — 2028-29 season

If Pitino ends the contract (each year ends March 31), he would now owe:

$750,000 if in the 2024-25 season$750,000 if in 2025-26 season, up from $500,000$500,000 if in 2026-27 season, up from $250,000$250,000 if in 2027-28 season, up from $0$0 if in the 2028-29 season.

All Pitino buyout totals are cut by 50% if Nuñez is no longer the athletic director at UNM at any point during the contract period.

If UNM fired Pitino, it will owe him:

$5.3 million if in 2024-25 season$3.24 million if in 2025-26 season$1.8 million if in 2026-27 season$700,000 if in 2027-28 seasonRemainder of base salary for contract year if in 2028-29 season.

Other changes of note:

Mountain West regular season championship bonus increases from $10,000 to $25,000Mountain West Tournament championship bonus increases from $10,000 to $15,000