New Central Michigan football coach Jim McElwain's salary puts him third in guaranteed compensation among the Mid-American Conference's 12 head coaches.
McElwain will be paid $640,900 his first season, behind only Toledo's Jason Candle ($1.125 million) and Western Michigan's Tim Lester ($800,000), and just ahead of Northern Illinois' Rod Carey ($633,460). Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton is middle of the pack at around $460,000.
McElwain's salary will rise to $665,900 in Year 2, $690,900 in Year 3, $715,900 in Year 4 and $740,900 in the fifth year of the contract he signed over the weekend.
Central's commitment to McElwain, 56, is steep, especially since the university is expected to pay former coach John Bonamego a buyout of $1 million or more.
Meanwhile, McElwain will draw his Central salary while he continues to get paid by the University of Florida, which fired him as head coach in October 2017. As part of the $7.5 million buyout agreement, McElwain will be paid $1 million on July 1, 2019; $1 million on July 1, 2020; and $500,000 on July 1, 2021.
McElwain served as Michigan's receivers coach this season, where he made $300,000 on a one-year deal.
McElwain's Central contract also includes several potential bonuses:
►$10,000 for a victory over a Power Five team;
►$7,500 to $20,000 for a winning season, with $2,500 escalators for each additional win;
►$20,000 for making the MAC championship game;
►$25,000 for winning the MAC championship game;
►$20,000 for making a bowl game;
►$25,000 for winning a bowl game;
►$75,000 for making a New Year's Six bowl game;
►$100,000 for making the College Football Playoff;
►$20,000 for ending the season in the CFP top-25 rankings;
►$25,000 for earning MAC coach of the year;
►$35,000 for earning national coach of the year;
►$10,000 to $15,000 if average home attendance exceeds 20,000;
►And there are a series of modest bonuses, based on the team's academics.
Fringe benefits are pretty standard, including full cell-phone reimbursement, a car, use of a private suite at all home football games and a private golf-club membership.
There also is buyout language in McElwain's contract, no real surprise given there have been sizable separation agreements in his two head-coaching stops. Florida paid Colorado State $7 million to hire McElwain away in December 2014 — part of that was a $2-million buy for a game between the schools that took place this season — and Florida agreed to a $7.5-million buyout when it fired McElwain. If you're keeping track at home, Florida committed more than $25 million to McElwain, who coached 34 games.
If McElwain leaves Central early, his buyout would range from $1.2 million down to $400,000, depending how late in his contract the exit occurs. If Central fires McElwain, the university's buyout ranges from $2 million down to $400,000.
The contract also stipulates that McElwain will be allocated $1,020,000 in salary for his 10 assistant coaches, a number that could rise in future years based on conference trends.