It's taken months longer than anticipated, but negotiations for a new contract between Old Dominion and football coach Bobby Wilder are going well and a new deal should be signed by mid-June, athletic director Wood Selig said.
Selig had said shortly after the football season ended in early December that he planned to "tear up" Wilder's contract, which had nine years remaining, and negotiate a new deal. He pledged to do so in part because of ODU's success - the Monarchs were 11-2 last season and are 38-10 under Wilder - and because the school is moving up to Conference USA in 2014.
Selig said he wants to increase Wilder's pay to a level comparable with other C-USA coaches by 2015.
Although negotiations have taken longer than expected, Selig said they have been amicable and that a deal will be reached.
Wilder is represented by Dennis Cordell, who founded the Washington firm called Coaches Inc. The firm represents dozens of coaches, including Virginia head football coach Mike London, Florida International and former Norfolk State basketball coach Anthony Evans and ODU quarterbacks coach Ron Whitcomb.
"We haven't had a chance to work through every topic that we need to," Selig said. "There are two or three points that both sides want to get right. But things are going well."
Talks have been delayed in part because Selig was preoccupied with hiring a new basketball coach and by the school's impending move to C-USA.
Without a new contract, Wilder would have the lowest salary in Conference USA, according to a USA Today database published in November. Wilder makes $350,000 in base pay and benefits, including endorsements, TV and radio shows and funds from the Old Dominion Athletic Fund, a private fundraising arm of the school, Selig said. He also has $105,000 in potential bonuses in the current deal, but most of them are based on the school's performance in the Football Championship Subdivision.
ODU plays as an FCS independent this fall, then joins the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014. Selig said Wilder's contract will be rewritten to include FBS performance goals.
According to USA Today, the average salary for the football coaches whose schools will be members of Conference USA in 2014 is $553,796. That includes 12 of the 14 C-USA coaches. UNC Charlotte, which begins playing football in 2013, and ODU weren't on the USA Today list.
Southern Mississippi's Ellis Johnson, who was fired after the Golden Eagles went 0-12 last season, had the biggest salary at $790,000 and has $465,000 in potential bonuses.
The average bonus for the 11 C-USA schools that offer them was nearly $230,000.
Harry Minium, 757-446-2371, firstname.lastname@example.org