After leading the UK baseball team to a record 45-win season and being named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, UK head coach Gary Henderson has a new contract.♦ New baseball stadium in works? (CatsPause.com)
Henderson’s new five-year contract is worth $2.145 in total salary and endorsement payments. His annual salary for the deal increases from $325,000 this year to $375,000 in the fifth and final year of the contract. UK will also pay Henderson $75,000 annually for media rights and endorsements.
Although the school is not yet ready to announce finalized plans for a new facility that would replace the Wildcats' current home, UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart acknowledged the department is working toward that goal. Barnhart has been earmarking money for the construction of a new facility, likely to be located off Alumni Drive near the existing soccer and softball complexes.♦ Big budget helps Florida Gators achieve big athletic success(Tampa Bay Times)
“Do we want a new stadium? Yes, we do,” Barnhart said.
While there is still ongoing discussion about whether the Cats could potentially upgrade and expand Cliff Hagan Stadium, sources told The Cats' Pause the clear preference is to start from scratch and build a new, state-of-the-art stadium and baseball complex. Cliff Hagan Stadium was originally built in 1969 and has undergone three renovations, the most recent coming in 2007.
“I'm very optimistic we are going to improve our facilities,” Henderson said. “I've had several talks with Mitch and he's absolutely behind it. I understand the climate we're dealing with financially right now but I also understand Mitch's commitment and I feel very good we're going to move in a positive direction.”
A few hours after the No. 1 seeded Florida baseball team was eliminated from the College World Series in a loss to Kent State last month, a message appeared on Twitter: "I guess money can't buy everything."♦ Who will be USC's next athletics director? (WISTV.com)
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Florida's athletic budget for the upcoming season is projected at $97.5 million, and even in the midst of a recession, facility improvements continue. Among them: a $150,000 resod of the football surface, construction of an indoor tennis practice facility, renovation and expansion of the gymnastics facility, and renovation of the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium west concourse. Since 1982, Florida has invested $242.5 million in facility improvements for its athletic programs.
The first on most USC fans' lists is current head baseball coach Ray Tanner. Many have tapped Tanner's leadership qualities as just what the Gamecock athletic department needs to continue their successes on and off the field.
Since arriving on campus in 1997, the baseball program has never finished with a below .500 record. The Gamecocks have made the last 13 NCAA tournaments, including three straight College World Series finals and won two national titles.
Tanner's success on the field makes him an intriguing candidate for the USC athletic director's position. However, Tanner says he's not ready to give up the pursuit of more championships and, of course, coaching.
"I just finished my 25th year and I love being on the field," Tanner said. "I still love the players. I love coaching them. I'm excited about that. I don't think I am over the hill and I like being out there, so I don't think I am at a point that I have to walk away."