It only took Nevada one season to learn it didn’t want to lose women’s basketball coach Amanda Levens.
The Wolf Pack quietly locked Levens up to a five-year extension this summer. The agreement, obtained by Nevada Sports Net via a public record request, was signed in late July and took effect Aug. 1.
The contract is for five seasons and totals $1.09 million in base salary, making Levens the highest-paid coach of a women’s program in Wolf Pack history. Levens also is the first non-football or men’s basketball coach at Nevada to get a contract longer than three years (Nevada’s athletic directors and presidents have never had a deal longer than three seasons, either). The contract replaces a three-year pact she signed in May 2017.
Levens will make $200,000 in base salary this season, a bump from the $180,000 she earned last year. That salary jumps to $210,000 for the 2019-20 season; $220,000 in 2020-21; and $230,000 in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
“I want to thank President Marc Johnson, Doug Knuth, Rhonda Bennett and the Board of Regents for their support and commitment to Nevada women’s basketball,” Levens said in a statement provided to NSN. “I believe we have all the resources necessary to build a successful women’s basketball program and I am excited for the opportunity to do it. My family and I have really enjoyed living in Northern Nevada and we are grateful to be part of such a supportive community.”
Levens is eligible for performance bonuses up to $110,000 annually. They include:
* $5,000 for a top-three conference finish in the regular season, including ties.
* $10,000 for winning the conference regular-season championship, including ties.
* $10,000 for winning the conference tournament.
* $5,000 for winning the conference coach of the year or co-coach of the year award.
* $5,000 for advancing each round in the NCAA Tournament before the Final Four.
* $25,000 for reaching the Final Four.
* $50,000 for winning the NCAA Tournament.
* $2,500 for playing in the WNIT.
* $10,000 for playing in the WNIT’s Final Four.
* $10,000 for winning the WNIT.
* Up to $5,000 for participation in other postseason tournaments.
Nevada must post the minimum single-year Academic Progress Report score for Levens to be eligible for the bonuses. She also will receive a $500 monthly automobile stipend, a membership to a local country club, eight season tickets to women’s basketball and six season tickets to Nevada’s other varsity sports.
If Nevada fires Levens prior to April 15, 2020, it would owe her her current base salary payable monthly until the expiration of the contract. Likewise, if Levens leaves Nevada prior to end of her contract (April 30, 2023), she would owe the school $50,000 within 90 days of that termination date.
The contract states Levens’ personnel evaluations will be based 40 percent on the team’s competitiveness; 40 percent on academics and rules compliance; 10 percent on institutional goals, including diversity and citizenship; and 10 percent on program administration. She could be fired with cause (meaning no buyout) if she scores an overall unsatisfactory rating in her evaluation in two consecutive years.
In her first season at Nevada, Levens led the Wolf Pack within a basket of its first conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. After upsets in the first three rounds of the Mountain West Tournament, the Wolf Pack led the majority of the title game before falling to Boise State, 62-60, on a buzzer-beater. Nevada advanced to the semifinal of the WBI, losing to Central Arkansas, 65-56.
Nevada finished 19-17 overall and 7-11 in the MW in its first season under Levens, who inherited a program that had averaged just 9.5 victories per season in the six years prior to her hiring. She did that despite making minimal changes to the roster she inherited. Six true freshmen joined the program this year when Nevada will host four Power 5 teams – Utah, Colorado, USC, Texas Tech – in non-conference.
“The entire community took notice last year and watched what Coach Levens, her staff and team accomplished in the classroom, the community, on the court and in recruiting during her first year as head coach,” Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth said in a statement provided to NSN. “This new contract reinforces our belief in Coach Levens and her effort to build the women’s basketball program into a championship program. Coach Levens is just getting started and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this program.”
Levens is the third-highest-paid current Wolf Pack coach, trailing men's basketball’s Eric Musselman, who makes $1 million in base salary, and football’s Jay Norvell, who makes $500,000 in guaranteed money. Levens' contract is in line with some of the higher paid women's basketball coaches in the MW. Boise State's Gordon Presnell, for example, has made three NCAA Tournament appearances in the last four years and signed a five-year, $1.22 million contract prior to last season.
Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.