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A look at Jerome Tang’s contract is a reminder of how far K-State basketball has pushed its limits

There has been a lot of talk about Kansas State being picked to finish last in the Big 12 this basketball season. Little was said about Jerome Tang’s contract, including a $10,000 bonus for taking the Wildcats to the NIT.

This goes to show how few people expected K-State to be a quality basketball team with Tang taking over as the first year head coach. It also illustrates how much the Wildcats have come through this year.

Now that K-State (17-3, 6-2 Big 12) is ranked fifth nationally and number one in conference standings, it’s somewhat comical to look beyond Tang’s contract and see lucrative bonuses for mediocre results like earning a “postseason NIT bid” or finishing with a “conference record over .500.”

It made sense when Tang signed his contract last May and the Wildcats were coming off three straight losing seasons. Now, these things are taken for granted in the Little Apple.

Tang has won so many games that he’s now in the mix for some of the best performance-based bonuses that have been written into his contract, like being named Big 12 Coach of the Year or winning a national championship.

Here’s a complete rundown of his bonuses, with K-State only paying him for the highest goal achieved:

  • Big 12 record .500 postseason NIT or higher bid: $10,000

  • Reach the Final Four NIT: $10,000

  • Win the NIT Championship: $15,000

  • Ranking Top 25 in Final AP or USA Today Poll: $15,000

  • NCAA Tournament Bid: $25,000

  • Reach NCAA Round of 32: $37,500

  • Reach Sweet 16: $50,000

  • Win Big 12 Championship (Regular Season or Tournament): $50,000

  • Reach Elite Eight: $100,000

  • Reach the Final Four: $200,000

  • National Championship: $600,000

Tang can also collect extra bonuses for being named Big 12 Coach of the Year ($25,000) or National Coach of the Year ($50,000).

The Eagle requested copies of Tang’s contract, plus his assistants, several times before the season started via open record requests, but it took longer than expected to finalize all those deals. Copies of those contracts were obtained earlier this month.

Another issue that seems pertinent these days: the Tang takeover.

Several national college basketball reporters have suggested that Tang could be a candidate for major job openings like Texas later this season.

Tang said those rumors don’t deserve a response from him and he seems happy in Manhattan. However, some have questioned how much it would cost another school to attract Tang. The answer: $5 million through April 30.

K-State athletic director Gene Taylor wisely started with a high number. Tang’s acquisition loses $1 million annually through 2027.

If the Wildcats try to terminate Tang for any reason without a case, the school owes him $7.35 million before April 30, 2024, $5 million the next year, $2.55 million the next year, and then $1 million in 2027.

The Wildcats signed Tang to a six-year contract through the 2028 season. His starting salary was $2.1 million, but he is expected to raise $100,000 each year until he reaches a maximum of $2. 6 million.

If K-State stays on its current trajectory, there’s a good chance Tang will get a new contract and a substantial raise before coaching his first game in Year 2. If that happens, there won’t be a need for a NIT bonus to to move on.

K-State Basketball Coach Salaries

Jerome Tang: $2.1 million.

Ulric Maligi: $400,000.

Jareem Dowling: $250,000.

Rodney Perry: $200,000.

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