Memphis coach Mike Norvell agreed Friday to a one-year contract extension, a reward for a successful 8–5 debut season as head coach. Norvell led Memphis to a bid in the Boca Raton Bowl and returns a flush roster for 2017 that promises to compete for the American Athletic Conference title.
Norvell chose to direct money from the new deal to his staff salary pool, as the continuity of the staff was his main focus. The pool increased by $250,000 to more than $2.75 million and was announced Friday by athletic director Tom Bowen. Memphis lost offensive coordinator Chip Long to Notre Dame after last season, but the Tigers were able to retain multiple assistants who were approached by SEC schools.
“I am so grateful to lead the program at the University of Memphis,” Norvell told SI.com. “After the success in our first season, my No. 1 focus was to keep continuity amongst our staff.”
As Memphis attempts to position itself for the next round of conference realignment, the growth in salary pool is another sign of the university’s increased commitment to football. In late April, Memphis broke ground on a new football practice facility. That is the formal start of a $40 million effort to build new practice facilities for football and basketball that showcase the athletic department’s capacity to raise money and compete nationally in both sports.
“The university’s financial commitment to our staff and the enhancement of our facilities allows us to continue to attract top-notch student athletes to Memphis for years to come,” Norvell said.
The Tigers open the 2017 season on Aug. 31 against Louisiana-Monroe.