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Tournament bid means $50,000 bonus for Pitino; more bonuses within reach

Richard Pitino declared to his players after Wednesday night’s victory, “There is no more talk about the NCAA tournament. We’re talking about seeds in the NCAA tournament.”

The Gophers all-but secured their spot on the March Madness dance floor after upsetting No. 24 Maryland 89-75 in College Park, Md. Pitino’s team moved into the top four in the Big Ten standings and in position for a double bye in the conference tournament.

Wednesday night’s victory also all-but guaranteed Pitino a $50,000 bonus. His contract stipulates a $50,000 payment each year the Gophers make the NCAA tournament.

The incentives don’t stop there.

If the Gophers finish with a winning record in the Big Ten regular season, Pitino gets another $50,000. The Gophers are 9-6 with three games to play -- meaning one more victory locks up that check (conference tournament games don’t count against the Big Ten record).

The $50,000 Big Ten regular-season champion bonus would require a lot of help from the rest of the league, but a co-championship scenario is still possible. If the Gophers win the Big Ten tournament, add $25,000 to Pitino’s account.

Some observers are starting to buzz about Big Ten Coach of the Year honors for Pitino. That would come with a $25,000 bonus. National Coach of the Year, perhaps unlikely unless the Gophers make a deep run in the NCAAs, would run up another $50,000.

Wait, there’s more.

Pitino gets $50,000 if the Gophers advance to the Sweet 16, and – we’re getting too far ahead, but hey, it is written in his contract – another $50,000 if they make the Final Four. A national championship? That’s a $100,000 bonus.

Add it all up and Pitino is line for at least a $100,000 bump, and that could double, or more, if the Gophers stay hot.

And Pitino likely won’t be the only coach on campus cashing bonus checks.

Men’s hockey coach Don Lucia has his team on top of the Big Ten standings and ranked No. 4 in the nation.

Winning the Big Ten regular-season championship would activate a $30,000 bonus for Lucia. His teams have won five consecutive conference championships and on pace for six in a row. If the Gophers win the Big Ten tournament, his bonus will increase another $15,000.

Like Pitino’s Gophers, Lucia’s team has moved beyond consideration for the NCAA tournament and is focused on seeding – a No. 1 seed could be in the team’s future -- so Lucia can bank on his $15,000 tournament bonus.

If the Gophers advance to the regional final, Lucia earns another $30,000. A berth in the Frozen Four is worth $50,000, and winning the national championship worth another $75,000 bonus.

Lucia’s bonus for coaching honors is limited to National Coach of the Year and worth $10,000. Though he’s likely not a favorite for this honor, he has restored excitement around the program one year after the team finished just above .500 and missed the NCAA tournament.

Add up all of Lucia’s incentives and his bonus check could be worth $215,000.

The two coaches combined could earn around a half-million dollars in bonuses this spring. Many would argue they’ve earned it – especially if NCAA tournament runs are involved.

Fleck, Pitino celebrate progress of Gophers athletes village

The tagged beam outside the window of P.J. Fleck’s office caught his eye. The message left for the new Gophers football coach read “Row the Boat.”

Fleck’s signature slogan is written in what appears to be black marker in all caps and the “o’s” subbed with holes in the steel. Fleck tweeted a photo of the beam and wrote,“Love seeing the ELITE people working on the new Athlete's Village ROWing The Boat with us!! Thanks for the message!!”

Fleck and the construction crew of the $166 million athletes village have struck up a special bond since he settled into his new office. Anytime the coach looks out his window and acknowledges the crew, they respond with a rowing motion.

The view from Fleck's office reveals the significant progress the construction crew has made on the project this winter. The athletic department this week released a video showcasing the progress and renderings of the final product.

In the video, Fleck tours the site and university president Eric Kaler celebrates with the construction crew by signing one of the massive steel beams. The highlights also show the David and Janis Larson Football Performance Center beginning to take shape.

Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino also recently toured the site and is looking forward to selling the facilities to future recruiting classes.

“I’m looking right now at a new practice facility that I just toured a couple days ago, so I think this thing can get to the next level. You have to remember, we built this team – and we haven’t arrived yet – without having a lot of great resources,” Pitino said last week. “Now that we’re getting those, I just think recruiting can really take off. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to. You’re looking at a great student-athlete experience that we’ve always had here. And that’s a major selling point for us. Now you add more than $100 million in facilities just for student-athletes. That’s going to add a great deal to the program. That’s something I’m extremely excited about selling going forward."

Watch the progress video and see the view outside of Fleck's window here:


TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Tampa Bay at Twins (spring training)

    6:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Dallas at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, ESPN, 830-AM

  • Wisconsin at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Twins at Boston (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Penn State at Gophers men's basketball

    2 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Wisconsin at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Timberwolves at Houston

    8 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Gophers women's basketball at Maryland

    11 am on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Minnesota United FC vs. San Antonio

    11:30 am

  • Washington at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Miami at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Los Angeles at Wild

    7 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Sacramento

    9:30 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Tampa Bay at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Wild at Winnipeg

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Pittsburgh at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Utah

    8 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wild at Columbus

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

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