New contract to pay Nebraska's Pelini $3M in 2014

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne is hoping Bo Pelini's new five-year contract wards off teams that might want to hire the Cornhuskers' head coach.

Pelini's deal gives him an immediate $425,000 raise, to $2.775 million, and will pay him more than $3 million a year starting in 2014.

"We feel like he's done a good job, and we'd like to retain him here and we want to send that signal," Osborne said Monday. "In a relatively short time he's gotten things moving in the right direction."

Pelini is 29-12 in three seasons at Nebraska, with two straight appearances in the Big 12 championship game. The Huskers move to the Big Ten this season.

His salary this year will rank third in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State's Jim Tressel ($3.8 million) and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz ($3.7 million).

Pelini's name was linked to the Miami opening in media reports in December. Osborne said Monday that "two or three" schools were interested in Pelini after last season, but he wouldn't name them.

Osborne said Pelini didn't ask for a raise or new contract. Pelini didn't return a message left on his cell phone.

A $500,000 retention bonus to be paid if Pelini were at Nebraska after the 2014 season has been eliminated. That money has been lumped into the contract.

"The thing I began to realize in looking at contracts is that people from outside the Nebraska athletic department, when they look at a coach's salary, aren't interested in a five-year contract and what you're going to make in 2014, 2015," Osborne said. "They're interested in what you make right now."

With yearly $100,000 raises scheduled, Pelini's pay will top out at $3.175 million in 2015.

"I don't think any contract locks anybody up," Osborne said. "I just realize that the $500,000 retention bonus four years off probably wasn't going to have a lot of impact. It wasn't going to keep him here or keep anyone from approaching him.

"It puts him in relatively good position compared with other coaches around the country. He's not the highest paid, but he's in a range that's very fair."

Pelini can make additional money through performance bonuses. Among them, he earns $200,000 for appearing in the Big Ten championship game or $350,000 for winning it. He would receive $650,000 for winning the BCS national championship game.

In addition to the customary two vehicles for personal use and country club membership, Pelini will be provided with 16 hours of private airplane use for his and his family's personal travel.

Osborne said his satisfaction with Pelini goes beyond the win-loss record. He said Pelini's players have, for the most part, stayed out of trouble and performed well in the classroom.

"Compared with most, he's done well with that," Osborne said. "Technically, he's very sound. He knows football. He has good intelligence, and he's working hard at the public relations side of it."

Osborne said Pelini has indicated he likes coaching at Nebraska.

"You really can't predict the future," Osborne said. "I don't sense he's looking to get out of here next year. The odds are good he'll be here quite a while."