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Arizona opens the pocket book for Rodriguez

After an 8-5 season, Rich Rodriguez is getting paid. (Photo: AP)

After an 8-5 season, Rich Rodriguez is getting paid. (Photo: AP)

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce one of the sexiest names in college football, Rich Rodriguez wasn’t exactly a hot commodity when he was hired by Arizona.

Fired at Michigan in 2010, Rodriguez spent 2011 out of football. Once seen as a sure thing hire, three tumultuous seasons in Ann Arbor and a year away from the game made him a risk, and risky assets come cheap.

Arizona hired Rodriguez in November 2011 for $1.5 million. (He makes another $300k from Nike and the Wildcats’ broadcast partner, IMG.) That made him the 10th highest-paid coach in the Pac-12, only ahead of Oregon State’s Mike Riley and Colorado’s now-fired Jon Embree.

In his first season, Rodriguez led Arizona to an 8-5 record and New Mexico Bowl victory, exceeding expectations. Now, it’s time to pay up.

Thursday, Arizona’s Board of Regents approved a raise for Rodriguez of $225,000 per year with an increase of $100,000 in base salary every Dec. 1, and a one-year contract extension through 2017. The new five-year deal will pay Rodriguez an average of $2.25 million per season, not including bonuses.

In the rarified air of college head coach salaries, Rodriquez is still underpaid. Last year, the average salary for a head coach at a BCS conference school was $2,370,959. He made $2.525 million at Michigan in 2010.

With an .610 winning percentage as the head coach of three BCS schools, Rodriguez could easily command a salary of $3 million or more – and he probably will if the Wildcats exceed expectations again next year.

You can read the details of Rodriguez’ extension below:

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