Florida women’s hoops coach Finley gets $3.7M contract

March 9, 2022 GMT
Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley directs her players in an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley directs her players in an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley directs her players in an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley directs her players in an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley directs her players in an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Friday, March 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida women’s basketball coach Kelly Rae Finley’s recently signed five-year contract is worth $740,000 annually.

The University Athletic Association released her contract Wednesday in response to a public records request. Finley s igned it March 1, two days after agreeing to terms on the $3.7 million deal.

She’s the fourth-highest-paid head coach on Florida’s campus, behind football’s Billy Napier ($7.1 million annually), men’s basketball’s Mike White ($3.2 million) and baseball’s Kevin O’Sullivan ($1.4 million).

Including Texas and Oklahoma, which are scheduled to join the league during the terms of Finley’s contract, the average annual compensation for SEC women’s basketball coaches is $1.02 million. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley tops the league at $2.9 million annually, with LSU’s Kim Mulkey making $2.5 million in her first season in Baton Rouge.

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The 36-year-old Finley will make $450,000 in base salary a year, $175,000 more than her predecessor, Cam Newbauer. She will get another $290,000 annually in allowances and incentives: a $4,000 academic bonus; a $25,000 apparel deal with Nike; $40,000 in travel on UAA planes; a $50,000 expense account; a $71,000 talent bonus; and a $100,000 longevity bonus.

Finley also gets use of a dealer car and can earn additional performance bonuses by winning the SEC or by making and/or advancing in the NCAA Tournament.

Her deal does not include a buyout, meaning Florida would be on the hook for her entire remaining salary (minus mitigation) if it fired her without cause. Finley would owe the school $250,000 a year for every year remaining on the contract if she left for another job.

The Gators (21-10, 10-6 SEC) accomplished rare feats in Finley’s debut season. She was named interim head coach in July after Newbauer resigned amid allegations he was verbally and physically abusing players.

Under Finley, Florida enjoyed its first 20-win season since 2015-16, beat five ranked opponents for the first time since 2005-06, and reached its highest ranking (No. 15) in the Associated Press women’s college basketball poll since 2008-09.

“Kelly Rae is such a talented young coach whose natural poise, intelligence and relational abilities have all been on display during this remarkable Gators women’s basketball season,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said. “I’m excited that she’ll have the opportunity to build off of this year’s success and that future Gators will be able to benefit from her leadership the way this team has.”

Although the Gators ended the regular season with a three-game skid, they bounced back to win second-round game in the SEC Tournament despite losing leading scorer Kiki Smith to a knee injury in the closing minutes. Smith, a senior and the heart and of the program, is out for the remainder of the postseason.

Florida, meanwhile, awaits its NCAA Tournament seeding and first-round pairing. The selection committee could downgrade the Gators because of Smith’s season-ending injury.

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