JSU officials confirmed a three-year contract with the possibility of a first-year rollover when Grass was introduced as the Gamecocks’ head coach Jan. 23. Other terms were not disclosed at the time.
Grass, 45, was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach within hours of former head coach Bill Clark’s resignation to take the UAB head coaching job.
The contract, effective Jan. 21, was executed Friday and delivered to the university library for public inspection Monday morning.
Grass called the 16-page document a “pretty satisfactory contract for both parties, so it really wasn’t a lot to deliberate.”
With some exceptions, it is “very similar” to the contract Clark signed in December 2012, and, in fact, Grass’ representatives used the previous coach’s contract for guidance.
“We were expecting things, and it wasn’t anything that concerned us,” said Rick Davis, Grass’ Birmingham-based agent. “We had a few things we asked them to look at and they did. We’re pleased. John signed his contract and is moving forward to get on with spring practice.”
Grass, will receive an annual base salary of $181,000 — about $500 a month more than Clark’s original deal — and similar bonuses for post-season performance and academic success. He was making $86,700 as the Gamecocks’ offensive coordinator.
Unlike Clark’s four-year contract, Grass’ deal spells out compensation for participating in news conferences, radio and television shows and promotional events — $20,000 in 2014, $25,000 in 2015 and $30,000 in 2016.
Clark’s 15-page deal called for a 50-50 split with the athletic department on that external revenue.
“That’s pretty common,” Davis said of the personal services clause. “What you’re seeing a lot of universities doing now is you’ll have your base salary and in addition something like a talent fee not under the base salary.”
Other differences include $5,000 bonuses for a team grade point average of 3.50 or higher and winning the conference’s top academic award. Clark’s contract offered no 3.5 GPA bonus and only $2,500 for the academic award.
Clark resigned after only one, albeit successful season at his alma mater to become an FBS head coach in the state.
His early departure from JSU cost him a $400,000 buyout because it came after Jan. 1, 2014. Grass’ buyout is $500,000 at any time of his contract.
Grass’ window for resigning from JSU is only from the end of the football season to Dec. 31.
“It was a very good contract,” Grass said. “It was very acceptable on my end, on my family’s end and for the university.”
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.