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A closer look at Virginia baseball head coach Brian O’Connor’s contract extension

A closer look at Virginia baseball head coach Brian O’Connor’s contract extension


Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor, center, recently received a contract extension after guiding the Cavaliers to the College World Series for the fifth time.

June 24 was a bittersweet day for Virginia baseball coach Brian O’Connor.

His team fell to Texas in Omaha, ending its College World Series run. That same day, however, O’Connor put pen to paper on a contract extension, keeping him in Charlottesville through at least the 2027 season.

“He is the ultimate professional, an amazing leader and a great representative of the University of Virginia,” athletic director Carla Williams said in a statement.

Should O’Connor take UVa back to the College World Series once or to a pair of Super Regionals, the deal automatically extends through the 2028 season.

“My thanks to athletics director Carla Williams and university president Jim Ryan for the trust and confidence that they have shown in allowing me to continue to lead the University of Virginia baseball program,” O’Connor said in a statement.

Initially, it appeared O’Connor’s new deal was a six-year extension building off his 2014 contract agreement, but documents obtained by The Daily Progress show that O’Connor had previously signed an extension in January of 2017. That 2017 deal would’ve kept O’Connor at UVa through the 2023 season.

O’Connor’s newest extension keeps his base salary and supplemental compensation the same. His base salary was set at $225,000 in 2014 to go with supplemental compensation of $375,000. Annual raises put his compensation total at about $765,000 currently.

The head coach’s bonus structure remains largely the same from his original contract, although he now receives a $5,000 bonus when his team finishes an academic year with a 3.0 GPA. That bonus replaces one regarding adjusted graduation rate. He also makes $5,000 if the team finishes with a GPA over 2.7.

As for on-field bonuses, O’Connor can make up to 1.5 month’s base salary, roughly $40,000, if Virginia wins the national title. He receives one month’s base salary, about $26,500, if the team makes the College World Series. He can also receive $10,000 bonuses for UVa hosting a super regional, appearing in a super regional and finishing in the top 10 of at least one of the major national polls.

UVa finished in the top 10 of Baseball America’s final poll this season, securing the top-10 ranking bonus for O’Connor. He also earned bonuses for making the College World Series and appearing in a super regional.

Other notable bonuses include a $7,000 payment for making an NCAA Regional and $5,000 for hosting a regional. O’Connor can also make $5,000 for an Academic Progress Rate of 930 or higher. There’s another $5,000 bonus for a top-20 finish in a major national poll and a National Coach of the Year honor from either the Associated Press or USA Today.

If Virginia wins the ACC, it leads to a $3,000 bonus. Winning ACC Coach of the Year honors from the AP or USA Today also makes O’Connor $3,000. Winning Virginia Coach of the Year, as determined by the Virginia College Sports Information Directors, can lead to a bonus of $1,000.

UVa’s head coach will receive a longevity bonus of $250,000 if he’s still the team’s head coach on June 30, 2026.

During his time as Virginia’s head coach, O’Connor has led the program to five College World Series appearances. Virginia won the national championship in 2015, the first in program history. The Wahoos are 750-319 under O’Connor’s guide, and he’s one of just eight coaches to ever win 300 ACC contests.

After six more selections this year, 90 UVa players have been picked in the MLB Draft since O’Connor became the head coach.

He returns what should be an impressive team for the 2022 season. Several contributors, including rising junior outfielder Chris Newell and rising sophomore catcher/designated hitter Kyle Teel, return to a talented lineup. The starting pitching rotation will likely feature players such as rising juniors Nate Savino and Matt Wyatt. Rising senior Brandon Neeck may also transition into a starting pitching role.

UVa hopes to keep O’Connor in Charlottesville for years to come. O’Connor seems content in Charlottesville.

“I want to win,” O’Connor told The Daily Progress earlier this month. “I want to get back to Omaha, and Virginia is one of those places that has the ingredients to be able to accomplish that. So why not do it at a place that’s been getting it done?”

Should O’Connor opt to leave UVa for another program prior to June 30, 2024, his buyout sits at $800,000. The buyout decreases to $400,000 the following season. If he decides to leave after June 30, 2025, there’s no buyout.

If O’Connor’s contract automatically extends through the 2028 season, the buyout dates get pushed back one season. For example, a College World Series appearance in 2022 would extend O’Connor through the 2028 season, and the $800,000 buyout would apply if he leaves prior to June 30, 2025.

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