(AP) Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi signed a three-year contract extension to remain at the school on Thursday, keeping the enthusiastic leader here through 2010.
The new contract includes an annual base salary increase to $315,000, deferred compensation and a restructured bonus plan focusing on the academic performance of the athletes, overall success of Gophers teams and management of the department. In a prepared statement, university president Robert Bruininks praised Maturi's leadership through a budget deficit, guidance of the merger of the men's and women's departments, help in increasing fundraising income and work in pushing for a new football stadium on campus.
"I'm thankful that President Bruininks has enough confidence in me and feels that what we've accomplished in my first four years here is positive," Maturi said in a telephone interview.
The 61-year-old entered the school year in the final year of his deal, but said it never was an issue in his mind.
"I never put a lot of thought into it," Maturi said. "Now, if it came to April of next year and I still didn't have an extension, maybe I would have felt differently. But I feel very good about my relationship with the president and never had any reason to worry about it."
This was a much different situation, Maturi said, than when the Gophers were negotiating with football coach Glen Mason on a contract extension in December. Where Mason's contract status could have hurt recruiting, Maturi doesn't think being in the final year of his deal had any adverse affects on what they wanted to accomplish.
Now that he does have some job security, Maturi said, it should help show coaches and other administrators that they are staying the course that was charted when the Chisholm native arrived on campus in 2002.
"I do think internally there's a feeling that you know the president feels comfortable about the mission we're under and the direction we're going," Maturi said. "And I think this shows that the direction we're going is going to remain the same for the next four years."