Cal Poly Coach John Smith Signs Five-Year Contract: Salary, Buyout, Incentives

Cal Poly hired former Cal State Fullerton associate head coach John Smith during the latest coaching carousel.

Stadium obtained the signed appointment letter via public records request.

Smith signed a five-year contract that has a contract term of April 5, 2019 through March 31, 2024.

His base salary is $350,004 annually, which will be paid in monthly installments of $29,167.

Smith will have the opportunity to earn performance-based incentives, which are outlined below:

  • 5% of annual salary ($17,500) – If Cal Poly wins its conference’s regular season championship.
  • 5% of annual salary ($17,500) – If Cal Poly wins its conference tournament.
  • 2% of annual salary ($7,000) – If Cal Poly earns an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
  • 15% of annual salary ($52,500) – If Cal Poly advances to the Elite Eight.
  • 17% of annual salary ($59,500) – If Cal Poly makes the Final Four but doesn’t win the national title.
  • 20% of annual salary ($70,000) – If Cal Poly wins the national championship.
  • $10,000 – For each NCAA Tournament victory that is not the First Four.
  • 1% of annual salary ($3,500) – If a Cal Poly player is named a First Team All-American or wins the Wooden Award.
  • 2% of annual salary ($7,000) – If John Smith is named conference coach of the year.
  • 5% of annual salary ($17,500) – If John Smith is named national coach of the year.


In order for Smith to earn any of the incentives outlined above, he must meet the following requirements:

  • Cal Poly’s team APR score must be at or above 985 for its single-year and five-year score
  • Cal Poly must not exceed its expense budget for the fiscal year
  • Cal Poly must comply with the NCAA
  • All bonuses will be determined after spring quarter grades are known
  • All bonuses are contingent upon the recommendation of the athletic director, vice president of student affairs and approval of the president
  • In order to be eligible for bonuses, Smith must be employed by Cal Poly on June 30 following the academic year for which the bonuses were earned
  • Bonuses are contingent on the availability of athletic funds designated by the athletic director for the purpose of providing bonuses


If Cal Poly terminates Smith’s contract, he’ll receive 50 percent of his total base salary remaining through the end of his contract, unless he accepts “comparable professional employment,” meaning another DI head coaching job. Any earnings through Smith’s new job will offset the amount that Cal Poly owes Smith.

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