UCLA

UCLA’s Mick Cronin to become highest-paid coach in Pac-12 on his new deal, per report

On March 17, UCLA signed head coach Mick Cronin to a new six-year contract that’ll keep him in Westwood through the 2027-28 season. In his three seasons with the Bruins program, Cronin has led the team to a Final Four, a Sweet 16, a conference championship game, a 68-30 record, and right back into national relevancy.

The Bruins will pay him accordingly.

Contract details were not released at the time UCLA announced Cronin’s new deal, but on Wednesday, Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times reported that Cronin will make an annual salary of $4.1 million from the new contract, which takes effect on Friday. That number will make him the highest-paid coach in the Pac-12.

According to Bolch, Cronin’s buyout comes at a significant number. If he left the school or if UCLA chose to fire him without cause, either side would owe the other $24 million through March 31, 2023; $20 million through March 31, 2024; $16 million through March 31, 2025; $10 million through March 31, 2026; $6 million through March 31, 2027; and then $2 million through March 31, 2028.

Cronin also stands to receive a number of performance-based bonuses as well as potentially two retention bonuses, as outlined by Bolch:

  • $10,000 for Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor
  • $25,000 for an outright regular-season Pac-12 title
  • $15,000 for a Pac-12 Tournament title
  • $35,000 for making the NCAA Tournament Round of 64
  • $25,000 each for making the second round, the Sweet 16, and the Elite Eight
  • $50,000 for making the Final Four
  • $25,000 for making the national championship game
  • $50,000 for a national title
  • upwards of $60,000 per year based on player academic performance
  • $2 million if still the coach on April 15, 2025
  • $2 million if still the coach on March 31, 2028

Between his base salary and bonus potential, Cronin could earn a max of $32.2 million on the deal.

Cronin led the Bruins to a 27-8 record this season, a second-place finish in the Pac-12, and a spot in the Sweet 16. Though the Bruins came up short in the league’s title match against Arizona and then again in the NCAA Tournament against North Carolina, Cronin was optimistic about the year his players had.

“They’ve restored UCLA to the national scene,” he said immediately following the loss to UNC. “My message to them was you can’t let people say, ‘Well, you didn’t win it all this year, your season’s not a success.’ That’s a ludicrous statement. Although I came to UCLA to try to get this 12th title and I’m not going to leave until I do, … their lesson has got to be, ‘Did they give their best effort? And the answer is yes. 

“These guys did a great job of making UCLA basketball relevant again. I’m very proud of them.”

And UCLA appears to be on firm ground to remain that way moving forward. The Bruins will soon add a top-10 class nationally to the roster that includes 5-star guard Amari Bailey and 5-star center Adam Bona, two of the 16 highest-rated prospects in the country.

Derek Peterson
Derek Peterson comes to the Pac-12 after years of serving as a college football beat writer at Oklahoma and Nebraska. He's a firm believer that teams should never punt.
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