Preston Spradlin JMU Contract Breakdown

Image courtesy of Morehead State Athletics

By Bennett Conlin

Preston Spradlin became the new head coach for JMU men’s basketball last week, as the Dukes named one of the top mid-major coaches their new head man. 

Spradlin found tremendous success at Morehead State, winning 20+ games in each of the last four seasons and making a pair of NCAA Tournaments during that span. He brings a different style to Harrisonburg than Mark Byington, as Spradlin teams play a more deliberate offensive pace and focus on playing elite-level defense. 

While the playing styles will be different, Spradlin’s memorandum of understanding mirrors the contract agreement Byington was under during the majority of the 2023-24 season. Let’s break down the memorandum of understanding, which JMU Sports News obtained through a FOIA request. 

Spradlin’s base payment, buyout 

Spradlin will make a base salary of $453,900 in addition to $146,100 annually from private donors. Even I can do that math! Spradlin will earn a minimum of $600,000 a year. That’s the same salary Byington made during the 2023-24 season, prior to his late-season extension. 

The six-year contract runs through April 24, 2030.

As for buyouts, JMU will pay Morehead State a $275,000 buyout to bring Spradlin to Harrisonburg. Vanderbilt will pay JMU $1 million to retain Byington’s coaching services. 

Should Spradlin leave for a Power Conference school prior to April 2, 2026, JMU will receive a $1 million buyout. If he leaves for a Power Conference program between April 3, 2026 and April 2, 2029, JMU receives a $500,000 buyout. 

If Spradlin takes a job in the AAC, A-10, CUSA, MWC, MAC, or SBC prior to April 2, 2026, JMU receives a $450,000 buyout. If he takes a job in any of those mid-major leagues between April 3, 2026 and April 2, 2029, JMU receives a $250,000 payment from the school taking Spradlin.

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Spradlin’s bonus structure 

Spradlin, like Byington, has plenty of ways to earn bonuses in 2024-25 and beyond. Here’s the full list of bonuses available to JMU’s new head coach:

  • Single Year APR 970 or better: $10,000 
  • Single Year APR 985 or better: $10,000 
  • Student Graduates within year eligibility: $2,500/each 
  • Top 75 RPI or Power 5 Win: $5,000 each 
  • 5 Selected Games (selected by AD): $2,500/each win
  • 20+ Win Season: $10,000 
  • 25+ Win Season: $20,000 
  • Regular Season: Team finishes in Top 3 of SBC: $10,000 
  • Regular Season: Team finishes 1st (including tie) in SBC: $15,000 
  • SBC Quarterfinal Win: $5,000 
  • SBC Semifinal Win: $5,000 
  • SBC Championship Win: $10,000 
  • NCAA Tournament Bid: $10,000 
  • Per game played through Round of 32: $10,000 
  • Participate in Sweet 16: $50,000 
  • Patriciate in Elite 8: $50,000 
  • Participate in Final Four: $75,000 
  • Participate in Semifinals: $75,000 
  • NCAA Champions: $100,000 
  • Received NIT Bid: $5,000 
  • NIT per game through Quarterfinals: $5,000 
  • Participate in NIT Final Four: $30,000 
  • Participate in NIT Semifinals: $30,000 
  • NIT Champions: $50,000 
  • Coach of the Year: Conference: $10,000 
  • National Coach of the Year: $20,000 
  • Annual Fundraising (May 1 to April 30) Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund has contributions exceeding $100,000: $5,000 

I’m assuming “participate in NCAA semifinals” is supposed to say “championship,” as the Final Four and the semifinals are the same thing. It’d be a little odd to have two bonuses for the same event. I’m also assuming the same mistake was made for the NIT. 

The bonus for winning the games selected by the AD is the same as Byington’s contract. A new athletic director will likely select those five games, as a replacement for JMU Athletic Director Jeff Bourne is expected to be named this spring.

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