Arkansas expands its neighbors

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas has extended the contract of women’s basketball coach Mike Neighbors to at least the 2025-2026 season.

The neighbors, 52, who completed his fourth season as the Razorbacks head coach this year, could get up to two one-year extensions that would extend his deal until the 2027-2028 season. These one-year extensions would be earned for each of the program’s next two appearances in the NCAA tournament.

His new deal, which was finalized on Wednesday, includes an annual salary of $ 600,000 that will increase to $ 700,000 on July 1, 2023.

Neighbors could earn two annual salary increases of $ 50,000 for NCAA tournament appearances starting in the 2023-24 season. His maximum possible annual income is $ 800,000 under the agreement, before incentives.

AU graduate Neighbors was previously working on a deal that paid out $ 482,000 a year before the incentives. His contract was due to expire in April 2023.

The new incentives include stair bonuses for NCAA tournament success, including $ 75,000 for a Sweet 16 appearance, $ 150,000 for a Final Four appearance and $ 300,000 for a national championship. These bonuses cannot be accumulated in the same season.

Neighbors could also win $ 50,000 for an SEC regular season or tournament championship, and $ 25,000 for a conference or national coach of the year award.

If Neighbors is fired by Arkansas for convenience during the extended deal, he will be owed 70% of his scheduled salary for all seasons remaining on the contract.

The neighbors are expected to have $ 1.2 million to break the contract before April 30, 2023. This buyback drops to $ 700,000 until April 2025 and $ 150,000 for the following years.

The Neighbors’ Agreement includes a non-compete clause that prohibits her from taking a job in another SEC program.

Arkansas played in the NCAA tournament – a 66-62 first-round loss to Wright State – this year for the first time since 2015. The Razorbacks were likely to make the tournament a year earlier, but the tournament has been canceled due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Neighbors have an overall record of 78-50 and an SEC record of 28-35 as Arkansas coach. The Razorbacks are 43-17 overall and 19-12 in the SEC over the past two seasons.

The Razorbacks were 13-17 and 2-14 in the SEC during the season before Neighbors were hired.

“What Coach Neighbors has done in his first four seasons as head coach of our women’s basketball program has been extraordinary,” AU athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. . “He has guided our team to success in the Southeastern Conference and nationally, while transforming Razorback women’s basketball into one of the most dynamic and exciting college basketball programs in the country.”

Arkansas was ranked 10th nationally and was ranked 4th in the NCAA tournament this year. Two Razorbacks, Chelsea Dungee and Destiny Slocum, were selected in the WNBA Draft – the program’s top draft picks since 2012.

Both players transferred to Arkansas – Dungee from Oklahoma and Slocum from Oregon State – and are among several notable players to enlist with the Razorbacks during Neighbors’ tenure. Neighbors also signed transfers Amber Ramirez from TCU and Sasha Goforth from Oregon State, and over the past year signed Jersey Wolfenbarger from Fort Smith Northside and Maryam Dauda from Bentonville.

Slocum, Ramirez, Goforth, Wolfenbarger and Dauda were McDonald’s All-Americans as high school students.

“With his fast paced style of play, infectious enthusiasm and enduring commitment to Arkansas, Coach Neighbors has captured the attention of fans across our state and brought some of the nation’s top players to the University of Arkansas. “said Yurachek. “I am excited for the future of our women’s basketball program under the leadership of Coach Neighbors.”

Neighbors was hired in April 2017 for an annual salary of $ 600,000, but he restructured the contract 18 months later to include a provision allowing the AU to pay the remainder of his buyout contract of $ 990,000 to the ‘University of Washington, where he was head coach for four seasons. from 2013-17.

Initially, the Razorbacks had agreed to pay $ 350,000 from the Neighbors buyout, according to their contract amended in October 2018.

Neighbors and Yurachek have had preliminary talks about a contract extension in 2020, the two men said last year. These negotiations were suspended after the covid-19 epidemic.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue living my dream as the head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Arkansas,” Neighbors said in a statement. “This significant investment in the future of our program is an endorsement of the progress we have made and further validation of our success both at the Southeastern Conference and nationally.”

Neighbors has a career record of 176-91 in eight seasons as a college head coach. He has competed in three NCAA tournaments in Washington, including the 2016 Final Four.

The neighbors grew up in Greenwood. After graduating from AU, he began his coaching career at Bentonville High School in 1994.

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