After 11 years at Long Beach State, men’s basketball head coach Dan Monson signed a restructured five-year contract which prioritized incentives for winning and came with a $75,080 pay cut.
Under the current contract, Monson’s base salary was $358,640 this season. With Andy Fee looking ahead to the next campaign, the Long Beach State athletic director came to a conclusion to restructure Monson’s contract after several unfulfilling seasons.
On March 29, Fee announced that Monson signed a five-year extension after a 15-18 season which ended with an elimination by Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Tournament quarterfinals. Monson’s new contract will take effect July 1, and he will earn a base salary of $283,560 while also receiving $16,440 annually or $1,370 a month in supplemental base compensation through the CSULB Research Foundation.
Monson, 56, also receives bonuses based on home game attendance and the team’s performance in the regular and postseason. His contract notes that he can only take the highest award amount, which means his bonuses don’t accumulate. If Long Beach wins the NCAA National Championship, he would take home $250,000 under his restructured contract.
Due to cuts in base salary and his retention bonus, Monson’s new contract is more performance-based with higher payouts for conference and post-season wins.
Fee said that performance is being used to incentivise Monson, and he hopes this will give him a chance to compensate for his decrease in salary through bonuses that can be claimed after conference wins.
“We put incentives in place so if we’re winning and competitive, coach [Monson] will get back to where [he was] financially [with his] salary,” Fee said. “So there’s nothing better in my mind than to incentivise people, and this contract incentivises [Monson] to get back to where we were. He can do it and I believe it, we just have to put these things in place and with him in place, we’ll get there.”
Monson acknowledged that after two sub-par seasons in a row, he doesn’t want the Long Beach basketball community satisfied with fifth place in the Big West Conference.
“I think my salary should be based on performance in a lot of ways,” Monson said. “I think if you are not winning, you’re not generating any income for the school and they’re not winning. A good contract should be a win for everybody, so I was more than understanding and wanted to be that way. The worst thing you want is for you to be winning and not producing for your student-athletes or for the school.”
This past season, Monson scheduled five games that earned revenue for both him and the university: University of San Francisco ($80,000), Oregon State ($45,000), West Virginia University ($80,000), University of Arizona ($95,000) and Michigan State University ($100,000) for a total of $400,000.
Through his current contract, Monson received $331,360 in pre-tax income from the five games, with the remaining $68,640 going to the athletic department general fund.
These games are known as “buy” or “guaranteed” games, in which Monson can earn some income from schools that will typically pay $50,000 to $100,000 for lower-ranked opponents to play a non-conference game at the school’s home venue. The reason for this is so higher-ranked schools get a guaranteed home victory before conference season begins. While losing guaranteed games does not negatively impact Long Beach’s conference record, Monson’s philosophy promotes this pre-season method in order to both challenge student-athletes and market LBSU to a national audience.
“We want opportunities to play some of the best in the country,” Fee said. “You do want to measure yourself and see where you are, but at the same time I think the old contract really was so heavy with the guarantee games to pay salary and I don’t think Dan really liked the old contract… I think it made it very awkward and [it was] just an odd way of doing it.”
Fee said that his critique of Monson’s old contract was not meant as a dig against his predecessor, Vic Cegles, and said Cegles needed to add compensation and guaranteed games as an option in Monson’s contract in order to keep the coach at LBSU after a successful 12-13 season.
Long Beach only won one of its buy-in games last season against the University of San Francisco and lost the other four by an average of 28.5 points per game.
“I will never put myself ahead of the betterment of the program,” Monson said. “We have to be careful of not overamping games and killing our kids’ confidence [during pre-season], so the schedule is going to be more balanced but it doesn’t have anything to do [with guaranteed games].”
Before the head coaching position at Long Beach State, Monson was the Gonzaga head coach for two seasons in 1997-1999. He then landed a job in the Big Ten at the University of Minnesota for eight seasons in 1999-2007.
“At Long Beach State, all I know is that we never scheduled a game for the money,” Monson said. “We schedule it for the opportunity, and [we] try to get our schedule for the best for our basketball team and for our players to have the exposure and experience.”
Monson will continue to have guaranteed games scheduled in his restructured contract where he can make up to $200,000. Any amount received above $200,001 is paid out to Monson (25 percent), the men’s basketball program (25 percent) and athletic department (50 percent).
Some may disagree with the extended contract due to Monson’s lack of NCAA Tournament appearances, but he believes the administration fully supports him and that Long Beach State is not a “win at all costs” school in regard to student athletics.
“I know why we play the guarantee games and I can explain that to people, but there’s always going to be people that will look at it at a different light than what it truly is and that’s just part of being in athletics and having a public job,” Monson said. “I can’t worry about what other people are doing. I know how the administration feels about guaranteed games and I know why we schedule the games and that’s the most important thing.”