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The Contract Of Cal's Head Coach: Sonny Dykes (Part 1)

I know it's long and it's only part 1! But let's delve deeper into the Sonny Dykes contract. It's me, at least


From the people who brought you Tedford's contract and Tedford's buyout, now they are back with another sequel! Daniel "Sonny" Dykes' contract! In a world where one man is now the head coach of Cal, can he learn to love to play defense in the Pac-12?!?! I laughed, I cried! This contract had it all!

And now I'm back from my evening of laugh crying (aka craughing or perhaps lrying) to tell you what exactly this document says. Below, I've broken it down section by section. I've tried to take the legalese and make it more approachable. But for those who don't want to wade through all the mumbo jumbo below, here is a quick hitter on it:

Dykes gets $250,000.00 in base salary and between 1.55 mil and 1.85 mil (increasing over time) in talent fee salary on an annual basis. He got a $600,000.00 signing bonus. There are a bunch of football bonuses, but they seem to be very low (playing in a Rose Bowl nets Dykes $60,000.00). Also, an academic component exists, so if Cal is in the Rose Bowl, but the academics aren't where they need to be, Dykes won't get a bonus. There are also bonuses for academic performance, but they are exceedingly low. That is the bottom line for this post.

In the next post, we'll take a look at the rest of the contract, including the buyout provisions. Without further adieu, here is the first chunk of Dykes' contract broken down section by section. Thanks!

Firstly, note that it is signed on February 7, 2013, but it is effective as of December 7, 2012.

1. Cal employs Dykes as set forth below.

2. Dykes shall do his job as Coach. He will act as a BCS head coach would in all circumstances and not engage in any activities that would detract from his ability to provide best efforts of his coaching duties.

3. The contract is for a set period of time (until December 31, 2017). It terminates at that time unless an extension is signed or an earlier termination occurs.

4. If Cal terminates Dykes or disciplines him, Dykes waives a bunch of rights as a UC employ relating to this contract. The government cannot deprive people of their life, liberty, and happiness without due process. These are rights given to all government employees (which Dykes technically is). Since he waives these rights, Cal gives him the money as outlined in the next section. Also, Dykes still has some rights in the case of termination/discipline. They are the rights all UC employees have and are not specifically outlined in the contract.

5. Here is the money! Let's dig in. Firstly, this section in the contract (on page 2) is vague. It says "He gets what it says in Contract Addendum." This makes it easy to execute a new addendum without having to redo the whole contract. That is why with Tedford's contract, we had to look at 2007, 2009, and 2011 addendums. It can get confusing at times.

Before I get into the specifics, let me note that it has a whole paragraph basically saying that if UC employees have to take a pay cut or get furloughed, Dykes would also have to take a pay cut or get furloughed etc etc. However, it appears to relate solely to his base salary and not the entirety of his compensation. Interesting to see that in there, though.

So, if you are reading along with the contract, jump to the Contract Addendum on page 2. Let's look at the numbers. Note that all annual payments are to be paid out over monthly installments.

Term: 12.7.2012 (although it mistakenly states 1012) - 12.31.2017 (well into President Marshawn Lynch's first term!)

Base Salary: $250,000.00 per year

Talent Fee: This is the private fee that consists of the bulk of Dykes' annual income. For Tedford, it was believed that Nike paid this. No state taxes are used to pay this. I suspect Nike pays this here also. This is technically for appearing at booster gathers and on TV and other appearances. Even though it says it is for those things, it is basically standard coaching salary.

2013: 1.55 mil
2014: 1.55 mil
2015: 1.75 mil
2016: 1.75 mil
2017: 1.85 mil

By February 15, 2013, Cal paid Dykes $104,560.42 for the December 7, 2012-December 30, 2012 Talent Fee. Also, by February 15, 2013, Cal paid Dykes an $85,000.00 advance for the 2013 Talent Fee. This amount is deducted from his monthly payments over 2013, but if Dykes' contract is terminated before the end of 2013, he has to pay it back.

I wonder why he has this $85,000.00 advance. Any thoughts?

And now the special bonuses!


Here is the section with the standard bonuses for success. Note that to get these bonuses, not only does Dykes have to be in good standing as the football coach (not tough), but he also has to stay in good on the academics. He has to keep his Academic Progress Rate at or above 930. Also, starting with the 2015-2016 football season, he has to keep the 4 year average for the Academic Progress Rate at or above 930. So, even if he wins the Rose Bowl, if he doesn't have the academics where it needs to be, then it doesn't matter. He gets nothing.

Note that Cal's 2012 APR is 936, putting it at 94th (between Arkansas and Wyoming). This is the number that basically got Tedford fired.

And the 4 year average is 956 (thanks to OhioBear for helping me get these numbers).

2011: 949 (T-53rd)
2010: 969 (T-20th)
2009: 970 (13th)

So, 930 is an incredibly low bar to hurdle. In 2012, only 8 out of 119 schools were below 930. Putting this language in there makes Cal look focused on academics, but it isn't really that harsh for Dykes.

For 2013, 2014, and 2015, here are the bonuses:

Wins 7 regular season games: $25,000.00
Wins 8 regular season games: $30,000.00
Wins 9 regular season games: $35,000.00
Wins 10 regular season games: $40,000.00
Wins 11 regular season games: $45,000.00

Participates in Rose Bowl: $60,000.00
Participates in other BCS Bowl: $50,000.00
Participates in Alamo Bowl: $40,000.00
Participates in Holiday Bowl: $30,000.00
Participates in Other Bowl: $25,000.00

For 2016 and 2017:

Wins 7 regular season games: $10,000.00
Wins 8 regular season games: $20,000.00
Wins 9 regular season games: $30,000.00
Wins 10 regular season games: $30,000.00
Wins 11 regular season games: $40,000.00
Wins 12 regular season games: $45,000.00

Participates in Rose Bowl: $60,000.00
Participates in other BCS Bowl: $50,000.00
Participates in Alamo Bowl: $40,000.00
Participates in Holiday Bowl: $30,000.00
Participates in Other Bowl: $25,000.00

They have higher expectations for a few years from now (2016+). His accomplishments earn him less money, then.

Also, no additional money for winning the bowl games, merely for getting there. These numbers seem high, but in comparison to other coaches. For example, let's look at Mark Helfrich at Oregon. He was just hired this past off-season in the same time frame as Dykes.

His contract has the following bonuses relevant to this discussion:

12 Wins in Regular Season: $200,000

Rose Bowl/BCS At-Large Bowl: $100,000
NON-BCS Bowl: $50,000

Firstly, Dykes doesn't even have a 12 wins in regular season bonus until 2016 and when he does, it is less than 1/4th of Helfrich's bonus. Also, Helfrich's Rose Bowl/BCS At-Large Bowl bonuses are 40-50K more than Dykes.

Heck, forget Helfrich (esp. considering that Oregon to Cal is not necessarily an apples to apples comparison). Let's look at Coach Tedford's contract! The 2009 addendum is referenced on page 30 of this PDF (it is UC Regents notes):

Team wins the Pac-10 Championship or participates in the Rose Bowl $500,000

Team participates in a BCS Bowl other than the Rose Bowl, but does not win the Pac-10 $400,000

So, compared to Tedford's contract (as renegotiated in 2009), Dykes' bonuses are substantially lower. Hundreds of thousands of dollars lower. Isn't that sort of weird? Are we poor now?

Dykes interestingly does not appear to have bonuses for coach of the year.


Dykes has to direct the summer camps and this is part of his talent fee.


He gets 2 courtesy vehicles. If Cal can't provide him the 2 cars, then they give him $450.00 per car per month. They say that the information on the cars is in a separate agreement, but it doesn't seem to be attached here. I hope he got two Nissan Leafs!


Cal can enter into contracts with apparel companies and Dykes has to/can provide appearances and endorsements etc etc.


Dykes gets a signing bonus of $594,000.00 by February 15, 2013. This may in some way relate to his LaTech buyout:


Again, to get any of these, Dykes has to be in good standing and he has to keep his Academic Progress Rate at or above 930. Also, starting with the 2015-2016 football season, he has to keep the 4 year average for the Academic Progress Rate at or above 930. Same as with the football bonuses. As noted above, 930 is an incredibly low bar, so there isn't much here that should really get in Dykes' way.


3.00+ GPA: $23,000.00
2.85+ GPA: $20,000.00
2.70+ GPA: $10,000.00

Academic Progress Rate:

980+ APR: $23,000.00
970+ APR: $20,000.00
960+ APR: $10,000.00

Graduation Success Rate (If the 4 year average is above 70%):

90%+ GSR: $23,000.00
80%+ GSR: $20,000.00
70%+ GSR: $10,000.00

Note that the most recent GSR numbers put Cal at 47% GSR.That number is embarrassingly low. Getting to 70% might be tough to pull off quickly. Although the sums of money here are not high, I am hopeful that Dykes can get the number higher. Thanks to OhioBear for helping me get these numbers.

It's good to see some amount of bonuses for academics, but these are extremely small numbers. Considering that he gets almost 2 mil a year in salary, getting an extra $23,000.00 for academics isn't going to be a huge incentive. This seems more lip service than anything.

For example, let's look at Helfrich again. The story from above notes:

Further incentives include a GPA payment. If the Ducks, as a team, earn a 3.00 GPA or higher, Helfrich earns another $100,000.

So, that is $77,000.00 more than Dykes contract! Why is Oregon's bonus so much higher? Is it because Oregon has much more money to burn? Or is it because having a higher GPA is less unexpected at Oregon and thus worth more? What do you think?

Let's look at Tedford now. Tedford's 2009 addendum notes:

Support of Educational Objectives
The new contract proposes increasing to $20,000 each (from $25,000 total) achieving an 80 percent graduation rate, 950 APR and a 2.8 GPA.

In the 2009 Addendum for Tedford, Cal reworked the academic bonuses. Before, it was a max of $25,000.00 for improving academics and it was very vague. Then, after 2009, it was $20,000.00 each for getting better than those numbers listed above. Now, there is a wider array of opportunities for Dykes to get bonuses with the academics.


1. Spouse (or domestic partner) travel. At Sandy's sole discretion, Cal gives money for Mrs. Dykes to travel or pay costs incurred by her when acting as The Coach's Wife. If there is a bowl game, Dykes can bring his whole family there.

2. Dykes gets 4 free premium football season tickets on top of the standard number of tickets he gets as an athletics employee (I don't know what that number is). 5 free parking passes!


Teddy got free Blackhawk Country Club membership, but that was bc he lived out in the Danville Hills (cough cough). Since Dykes lives over in Oakland (or Piedmont or somewhere nearby), Cal is getting him a free membership at the Claremont Country Club.


Cal will pay the coach for moving expenses to move to California.


Dykes gets up to 20 vacation days each year. They are not carried over and expire at the end of the year. Do coaches use their 3ish weeks of vacation? It seems like a 24 hours a day 7 days a week 52 weeks a year job.


No specifics are given, but some amount of sick leave exists. I doubt Dykes has to call Sandy and ask for a sick day if he gets ill. But Tedford worked through pneumonia apparently, so I'm not sure how often the coaches use their sick time either.


Dykes gets all the appropriate health, retirement, and other benefits as an Cal employee


Dykes reports directly to Sandy. Indirectly to the "assigned sports supervisor." (John Wilton, Vice Chancellor - Administration and Finance???).

Up next, we'll look at the rest of the contract, including the information on terminating the contract!