New Gophers men's basketball coach Ben Johnson had his contract approved Wednesday by the Board of Regents.
Johnson's contract is a five-year deal worth $1.95 million annually, which ranks 13th among 14 Big Ten head coaches. The 40-year-old former Gophers assistant and player was hired to replace Richard Pitino on March 22.
"It's good to know that everybody is on board," Johnson said. "It just makes things more official and stamps it."
After being hired away from Xavier's staff, Johnson had been working under a memorandum agreement until the regents held a special meeting Wednesday morning with athletic director Mark Coyle and University President Joan Gabel.
The buyout terms of his contract indicate that if Johnson leaves any time during his first two years, he'd owe the university the remainder of his base salary, so $1.95 million for each remaining year. And if the university fired him after the first or second season, the buyout would also be the remainder of his full base salary.
In the third year, the buyouts for either the school or Johnson leaving would be 75% of his remaining base salary. The buyout amounts decrease to 50% of the remaining base salary after his fourth season and 25% after his fifth season.
The U owes no buyout money to former Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino after firing him March 15. Pitino's contract called for a $1.75 million buyout, but he accepted the New Mexico job a day after his dismissal.
Since his hiring last month, Johnson has brought on board two assistant coaches with former DeLaSalle coach and Colorado State assistant Dave Thorson and William & Mary assistant Jason Kemp. The third assistant is expected to be hired this week, but it will not be former Texas A&M associate head coach Jamie McNeilly, according to sources.
The Gophers lost eight players to the transfer portal from last season's roster, but Johnson received commitments from six transfers. He also currently has one high school recruit and two returning players from the 2020-21 team.
The newcomers signed Wednesday with the Gophers officially adding George Washington's Jamison Battle, Lafayette's E.J. Stephens, William & Mary's Luke Loewe, New Hampshire's Sean Sutherlin, Northern State's Parker Fox, and Charleston's Payton Willis.