Utah basketball: Here’s what U. assistant coach Chris Burgess is making


What did it take for the University of Utah to lure popular and highly respected assistant basketball coach Chris Burgess away from rival BYU?

A significant pay increase, for starters.

According to the new employment contract that Burgess signed with the U. last month, the former Runnin’ Utes player will be paid $265,000 annually to join second-year coach Craig Smith’s coaching staff.

What Burgess was making at BYU as one of four-year coach Mark Pope’s three assistants has never been publicly revealed because BYU is a private institution not subject to government open records requests. However, one source familiar with current assistant coaching contracts in the state said Burgess’ pay increase “is probably very significant.”

Another source said Burgess was making $130,000 at BYU and had said weeks before Burgess’ contract was released Tuesday that they expected him to at least double his salary by moving to the U.

By way of comparison, Smith makes approximately $1.9 million per year, while Utah women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts signed a contract extension last month that will pay her $679,500 per year through 2027, with a $30,000 annual retention bonus.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe has said BYU’s coaching salaries will increase when the Cougars join the Big 12 in 2023, if they haven’t already. Several football assistant coaches confirmed to the Deseret News in January and February that they had, indeed, received pay increases.

Another interesting aspect to Burgess’ deal is that it is for two years, and will expire on April 1, 2024, if not renewed before then, according to the contract obtained by the Deseret News. 

More than 90% of assistant coaches in college basketball are on one-year contracts. However, there is a growing trend in the industry to sign highly sought-after assistants, such as Burgess, to multiple-year deals as an extra incentive to get them to move.

Assistant coaches work long hours, especially during the season, and rarely get a day off.

According to the contract: “The parties acknowledge that assistant coach’s hours of work will fluctuate from week to week as a result of the seasonal and general nature of athletics. Assistant coach will work at least one hour every week and normally will not work more than 80 hours in any given week.”

The remainder of Burgess’ contract is mostly boilerplate stuff. He gets the use of a cellphone, laptop computer, iPad, etc., but must return those electronic items if he is terminated or quits.

Other benefits include 15 days of paid vacation and a $600 monthly stipend, paid quarterly, to use toward the purchase/lease of an automobile for work-related business.

Utah’s coaching contracts also include what the school calls an “Excellence Achievement Plan” to award bonuses for success in the regular season and postseason. Assistant coaches are eligible to receive a minimum of 10% of the bonus pool, sometimes more, at the discretion of the head coach.

Here’s how Utah’s bonus pool works (per staff):

• $15K if Utes are Pac-12 regular season or tournament champions.

• $15K if Utes appear in NCAA tournament.

• 7.5K if Utes win an NCAA Tournament First Four game.

• $15K if Utah advances to Round of 32.

• $15K if Utah advances to Sweet 16.

• $15K if Utah advances to Elite Eight.

• $15K if Utah advances to Final Four.

• $15K if Utah advances to NCAA Basketball Championship Game.

• $15K if Utah wins the NCAA Basketball National Championship.


BYU assistant basketball coach Chris Burgess answers a question during an interview while at the Marriott Center Annex in Provo on Friday, May 3, 2019.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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