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July 15, 2019

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Kruger contract altered in September

It wasn’t an extension or even a dramatic alteration, but UNLV basketball coach Lon Kruger’s contract was amended in September.

Upon the recommendation of new UNLV president Neal Smatresk, the state’s Board of Regents approved that the risk of additional marketing expenses not resulting in increased revenue was shifted from Kruger to the university.

“In theory, if all (goes) exactly like last (season), nothing changes, period,” Kruger said recently. “So all it did was remove the risk I had last year.”

Kruger said he had to pay a nominal sum due to last season’s arrangement.

After the 2007-08 campaign, in the wake of UNLV getting at least one victory in a second consecutive NCAA tournament, Kruger signed a new five-year deal with a total base salary of about $1.2 million.

Media appearances are worth about $2.1 million over the duration of the deal, and public appearances net Kruger nearly $1.8 million. A shoe and apparel fee is worth a total of $250,000.

He earns a bonus of $25,000 if UNLV qualifies for the NCAA tournament, and another $25,000 for each victory in college basketball’s marquee event.

Other perks include country club membership and the use of two automobiles, and Kruger will receive a completion bonus of $325,000 if he still is the Rebels’ coach on the last business day of March 2012.

There is a $500,000 buyout clause if Kruger were to leave UNLV before the end of the deal.

That new contract included a ticket-revenue plan that allowed Kruger to engage in marketing activities for the program at his own expense, for which he would be reimbursed depending on revenue generated in excess of projections.

If that figure were up to $400,000, 100 percent went to Kruger. Between $400,001 and $800,000, Kruger received 50 percent. If it were more than $800,000, 75 percent went to Kruger.

The August 2008 amendment, approved by the Regents, called for Kruger to advance $200,000 to fund "certain incremental expenses associated with marketing the men's basketball program."

The September modification calls for UNLV to fund such expenses, which will be recouped from increased revenue generated by additional marketing -- before any such incremental revenue is shared with Kruger.

Again, Kruger said he lost money in the deal last season but that it was not significant. That is what he will not be liable for as of September.

UNLV averaged 13,446 fans for its 18 games at the Thomas & Mack Center last season, which was its first average of more than 13,000 since 1998-99. It had its first sellout, when 18,523 packed the place for a 75-74 victory over BYU, in 16 years.

Still, those figures didn’t offset all of Kruger's extra marketing expenses.

“No, not quite,” Kruger said. “But it was great. I understood that going in. I think the trade-off was well worth it in the increase in attendance, exposure, everything … it was well worth it.”

In the Rebels’ 2009-10 season opener, 14,304 saw UNLV defeat Pittsburg State. A crowd of 13,113 watched the Rebels beat UNR, and 11,651 caught the victory over Southern Illinois.

UNLV (3-0) plays Holy Cross (0-4) tonight at 7 at the Mack, and Louisville visits Saturday afternoon.

Follow Rob Miech on Twitter at

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