Yes, Gophers coaches get bonuses for making the Quick Lane Bowl. Yes, the athletic department is paying them. And yes, Jerry Kill and Tracy Claeys will share the head coaching bonus.
Before Kill retired because of health reasons Oct. 28, his contract included a $50,000 bonus for an appearance in a bowl outside the College Football Playoff and Rose Bowl. He received that same bonus for last season’s appearance in the Citrus Bowl.
Since Kill coached seven of this season’s 12 games, he’ll get 58 percent of his bonus, or $29,000, according to the athletics department. Claeys, who coached the final five games, will get the remaining 42 percent, or $21,000.
Claeys actually was in line for the biggest bonus as a defensive coordinator, at $51,333. Each of the Gophers’ top nine assistants receives the equivalent of one month’s salary for making one of these lower-tier bowls. Claeys now will receive 58 percent of his coordinator bonus, giving him a total bowl bonus of $50,733.
Claeys recently fired offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski, but they’ll still get their bowl bonuses of $47,167 and $22,417, respectively.
All told, the Gophers will pay $272,775 in bonuses to their coaching staff for this Quick Lane Bowl appearance against Central Michigan on Dec. 28.
Starting next season, Claeys would make a $75,000 bonus for lower-tier bowl appearances under his new three-year contract.
The Gophers finished the regular season 5-7 and received a bowl berth despite not finishing with six victories because the NCAA didn’t have enough qualified teams to fill their 80 bowl spots.
Nebraska also went 5-7 and made the Foster Farms Bowl, but its athletic director, Shawn Eichorst, decided not to pay the coaching staff its $437,000 in scheduled bonuses, including $150,000 for coach Mike Riley.
“It’s obviously an administrative decision, but I agreed wholeheartedly,” Riley told the Omaha World Herald.
U lands junior college defensive tackle
The Gophers landed a commitment Wednesday night from Merrick Jackson, a defensive tackle from Iowa Western Community College.
The 6-2, 305-pound Jackson is a consensus three-star recruit who said on Twitter that he had narrowed his decision to Minnesota and Iowa State. He also had reported offers from Iowa, Indiana and Illinois.
Iowa Western is the same junior college that produced Gophers linebacker Cody Poock and safety Ace Rogers.