Steve Pikiell will not leave Rutgers anytime soon after unprecedented contract extension

Steve Pikiell is not going anywhere.

Rutgers’ Board of Governors approved a four-year extension for the university’s wildly popular and successful men’s basketball coach on Friday that includes terms unprecedented in athletics department history — all in an effort to ensure Pikiell will become the program’s longest-tenured coach since World War II.

Pikiell now effectively has an eight-year, $29.5 million contract running through the 2029-30 season, according to a term sheet obtained by NJ Advance Media. The deal includes an initial $15 million buyout, which makes him virtually unattainable for any potential suitors.

Pikiell is also now scheduled to make more than football coach Greg Schiano’s current salary by the end of the deal. Schiano is entering the third season of an eight-year, $32 million deal; He will make $4 million in 2027; Pikiell will make $3.95 million that year and then go over $4 million in the next two seasons.

It is a significant commitment by Rutgers. It is an even greater one by Pikiell, who is signaling he plans to end his career with the Scarlet Knights as they close in on a second straight NCAA Tournament bid. The final year of the new contract would be Pikiell’s 14th season at Rutgers, pushing him past Tom Young and Donald White (12 years each) and behind only Frank Hill, who coached the program from 1916 to 1943.

salary: Pikiell’s previously scheduled compensation through the 2025-26 season is unchanged. He will then receive $100,000 raises in each of the new contract years. Pikiell is also due four biannual $300,000 retention bonuses over the life of the deal. Those are scheduled to occur in July of 2023, ’25, ’27 and ’29.

  • 2022-23: $3 million
  • 2023-24: $3.25 million (+ $300,000 retention bonus)
  • 2024-25: $3.5 million
  • 2025-26: $3.75 million (+ $300,000 retention bonus)
  • 2026-27: $3.85 million
  • 2027-28: $3.95 million (+ $300,000 retention bonus)
  • 2028-29: $4.05 million
  • 2029-30: $4.15 million (+ $300,000 retention bonus)

Buyout: Pikiell’s buyout has reset to a whopping $15 million — three times the $5 million figure it started at with his previous two extensions. It will decrease $2 million annually over the length of the contract, but Pikiell will have a substantial buyout for almost the entirety of the deal. That will significantly limit the number of schools that could conceivably make a play to poach Pikiell from Rutgers. But Pikiell’s agreement to the structure makes it clear he does not want to take those calls in the first place. Pikiell’s 2018 deal included a clause that would cut any active buyout in half if athletics director Pat Hobbs was no longer at Rutgers at any point through the 2024 season. There has been no indication in subsequent contract amendments that has changed.

  • Through end of 2022-23 season: $15 million
  • 2023-24: $13 million
  • 2024-25: $11 million
  • 2025-26: $9 million
  • 2026-27: $7 million
  • 2027-28: $5 million
  • 2028-29: $3 million
  • 2029-30: $1 million

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James Kratch may be reached at jkratch@njadvancemedia.com.

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