Allen Greene didn't come to Auburn with a set plan to sign all the university's top coaches to long-term extensions.
Five months into his tenure as athletics director, though, that is exactly the case: The leaders of the Tigers' football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball programs are all under contract until at least 2022.
"It was just a set of circumstances that presented themselves all at these times," Greene said Friday. "This was all just all stuff that kind of came in, so we were being very much reactionary.”
The process started before Greene was officially introduced in January. Jay Jacobs' final coaching hire, softball coach Mickey Dean, signed a five-year contract that runs through the 2022 season. Football coach Gus Malzahn agreed to a seven-year extension worth $49 million in December, which could lock him in until 2024.
This month, Auburn announced it has extended men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and women's basketball coach Terri Williams-Flournoy through 2023, and baseball coach Butch Thompson through 2024.
“I think from an administrative standpoint, continuity is important," Greene said. "As I learn about our coaches, their personalities, their nuances, their visions for their programs, it makes it easier for an administration to support them and their endeavors when you have some continuity.
"I’m looking forward to locking arms with all of our coaches and doing whatever we possibly can within our power to give them the best opportunity to win conference and national championships.”
Many of those coaches enjoyed success during the 2017-18 athletic year. Dean's first season was down relative to the softball program's last three years, but the Tigers still made a Regional as a No. 2 seed. Football won the SEC West for the second time in Malzahn's five seasons, and Pearl's men's basketball team won a share of the SEC regular-season championship for the first time since 1999 and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
Dean's contract pays $250,000 annually. Malzahn's deal will pay $6.7 million in 2018 and increase by $100,000 every year. Terms of Pearl's extension have not been disclosed, but he was set to make $2.6 million during the 2018-19 season under his previous contract.
Thompson was the latest of those coaches to receive an extension, getting his announced Thursday after a season that saw Auburn baseball win 42 games, sweep a Regional, take defending national champ Florida to the 11th inning of a third game in the program's first Super Regional since 1999, and produce the No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick.
Greene said Thompson "is very competitively compensated with some of the best coaches in the country, and deservedly so." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but multiple reports state that the coach will make a base salary of approximately $900,000 annually with bonuses that could take it up to $1 million.
“So much about coaching is your relationship with the student-athletes. What I saw right away is how much admiration he has from those young men in his dugout, and how much admiration they have for him. That can’t be faked," Greene said. "Butch connects with his student-athletes, and he’s definitely someone who I would want to play for. I also look at our coaches now, as I get older, from a parent’s standpoint and would I would want my son or daughter to play for our coaches, and from A to Z, I definitely would.”
Williams-Flournoy, whose previous deal paid her approximately $600,000 annually, is coming off a 14-15 season that followed back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, but her 2018 women's basketball recruiting class — which has two five-stars committed — ranks 13th nationally and third in the SEC.
Greene said that plays a role in the way he evaluates coaches, which is a process that considers more than just wins and losses.
"My philosophy is looking at the inputs," Greene said. "How they are recruiting? How is the coaching staff handling players? How are they administratively? From a compliance perspective? Do they return emails from academic advisers? Are they doing performance reviews? It actually gets down to the nitty gritty of, are they doing the things that make them a good teammate as coaches, as coaching staffs. If they are, then I’m more likely to be helpful to help them navigate through a difficult time. If they’re not, those are certainly some of the things that we’d have to address.”