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Craig Neal, New Mexico agree to 5-year, $750,000 annual contract

New Mexico will be paying over $1 million less for Craig Neal to be their head coach than they would have for Steve Alford.

The contract for New Mexico's Craig Neal is going to be a bargain compared to the approximately $2 million that the school was going to pay Steve Alford over the next decade. The Lobos and Neal agreed upon a five-year deal worth $750,000 per year plus incentives.

Those incentives can make Neal's contract add up to at least $130,000 or more per year, and here is the breakdown:

  • $20,000 for either a Mountain West regular season or tournament championship
  • $25,000 for a Sweet 16 appearance
  • $30,000 for an Elite 8 appearance
  • $40,000 for a Final Four appearance
  • $5,000 for being named Coach of the Year
  • $5,000 for a team grade point average of 2.7 with no academically ineligible players
  • $5,000 for a team Academic Progress Report score of 950
  • $1,000 for each win over a Top 25 team

This is a smart contract by New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs since the deal is not going overboard to secure Neal's services, and the incentives are also not over the top. With this being Neal's first head coaching gig it was unlikely that he was going to get $1 million or more contract. This is an above average deal for a first-time coach, but New Mexico knows the value that Neal has brought to the program during his time as an assistant.

Also, Neal could send a thank you card to UCLA and Steve Alford for paying his salary, and some, for his first year.