But no matter when this contract became public, it was going to look like a whole lot of money for a coach who has yet to win an NCAA tournament game since he came to Minnesota for the 2007-08 season with a national championship and several other awards and significant successes on his resume at Kentucky.
The Gophers finished with 23 victories, the most by the program since the 1996-97 Final Four season that was later erased by NCAA punishment, but they needed a run to the NIT championship game to get there. They went 6-12 in Big Ten play for a second straight season.
Mere modest improvements will make Smith much richer, based on bonuses either already in or added to his contract for academic or on-court achievement by the team. For example, He still gets $250,000 if the Gophers are regular season Big Ten champions, but he'll also get $250,000 if they win the Big Ten tournament. That's up from a $100,000 bonus in the original deal.
And if Minnesota wins the NCAA championship, Smith's prize is $1.5 million, up from $500,000 in the previous contract.