Texas will not have to pay Rodney Terry’s $500,000 UTEP buyout


EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – When Rodney Terry left his position as UTEP’s head men’s basketball coach to be an assistant coach at Texas on April 6, it was assumed that the Longhorns would have to pay his full $500,000 contract buyout.

However, after a closer look at Terry’s UTEP contract, KTSM has learned that that is not the case.

In the finer print of Terry’s deal with the Miners, the contract reads that if he were to leave for another head coaching position at the collegiate or professional level, a lump sum payment of varying costs would be owed to UTEP within 30 days of Terry leaving.

If he had left from March 12, 2018, to Aug. 31, 2018, the buyout would’ve been $2 million; from Sept. 1 2018, to Aug. 31 2019, $1 million; and in the last five years, from Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31 2024, $500,000.

The key wording, though, is that UTEP would only be owed the money if Terry left for a head coaching position. Since he took an assistant coaching job, per his contract, Texas does not owe UTEP $500,000.

The full phrasing of the buyout clause reads, “Head Coach (Terry) agrees that in the event he resigns or otherwise terminates his employment under this Agreement prior to the expiration of the initial term of this Agreement and accepts a head coaching position at another intercollegiate Basketball program or a head coaching position with a professional Basketball program, he shall pay to the University as liquidated damages, and not as a penalty, the following amounts.” The contract then goes on to list the figures described above.

UTEP officials confirmed to KTSM on Tuesday night that Texas indeed did not have to pay Terry’s buyout.

As KTSM reported, when the Miners were hiring new head coach Joe Golding on Tuesday, they negotiated with Abilene Christian over Golding’s $250,000 buyout. Not having the Terry buyout money could have played a role in those negotiations.

Terry received a contract extension from the Miners in February, 2021, that would have kept him in El Paso until 2024. As part of the agreement, he received a one-year pay cut of nearly $200,000 due to pandemic budget cuts for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

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