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State board approves Akey deal

by From news services
| June 18, 2010 9:00 PM

IDAHO FALLS - A contract to keep Idaho football coach Robb Akey with the Vandals through the 2014 season was approved Thursday by the State Board of Education.

The contract maintains the current annual base salary of $165,796.80 with annual media payments beginning at $190,000 per year and increasing by $10,000 each year of the contract. Akey was making a total of $258,000 per season.

There are seven performance-based contingencies in the salary agreement, which could boost his annual compensation to as much as $514,057.60 in 2011 to $544,057.60 in 2014. The base salary is from state funds; the remainder comes through private fund-raising efforts such as the Coaching Excellence Fund.

"We are committed to keeping our coaches and compensating them at a rate commensurate with our peer institutions," Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said. "Robb has taken tremendous steps in revitalizing Vandal football - and the Vandal family."

In his third season as Idaho coach last fall, Akey led the Vandals to an 8-5 record and a victory in the Humanitarian Bowl - Idaho's first bowl appearance since 1998.

"What I really appreciate is by putting this contract out there they like the direction this program is heading," Akey said. "That comes up every time you sit in a kid's house. You look at five new seasons on this contract, that helps. It has certainly improved things. I appreciate that very much."

Akey also was happy salaries for his assistant coaches were increased - something he had pushed for.

"Everybody is going to get something out of this," he said. "This whole staff has worked their tails off. I'm proud of the work they've done. We're going to continue working on getting that assistant pool up but it's a great step in the right direction. I appreciate the fact they want to make things better for all of us."

Also Thursday, the State Board of Education gave the approval for Idaho to go ahead with improvements to the Kibbie Dome.

Improvements will include:

• Construction of a new press box to be located along the north concourse and seating area of the Kibbie Dome;

• Conversion of the existing press box, currently located above the south concourse seating area. This existing structure will be expanded and renovated into a club room to support enhanced spectator seating and other event activities;

• Construction of suite-style seating boxes to be located on the south concourse/seating area;

• Construction of club seating areas to be located on the south concourse/seating area; and

The university has an overall fundraising goal for this project of $6.7 million. Private funds raised to date, including cash and pledges, exceed $6.8 million. The regents also approved an agreement between the University of Idaho and Litehouse Inc. for sponsorship and naming rights. Under the agreement, Litehouse will pay $200,000 per year from 2011 through 2015 in exchange for naming the Kibbie Dome premium seating area the "Litehouse Center," along with other promotional considerations in conjunction with University of Idaho events and marketing.

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