University at Buffalo basketball coaches Jim Whitesell and Felisha Legette-Jack have agreed to one-year contract extensions. Both contracts now include amendments regarding bonuses and buyouts, but do not include pay raises for either coach.
The university's athletic department announced the extensions Thursday morning, and both Whitesell and Legette-Jack's contracts will run through 2025.
Contract terms, obtained by The News through a Freedom of Information Law request, specify that Whitesell’s contract to coach the men’s basketball team will now run through April 5, 2025, and Legette-Jack’s contract to coach the women’s basketball team will now run through March 31, 2025.
Legette-Jack’s amended contract also eliminates a noncompete clause; her contract extension from April of 2019 stated that she could not seek or accept employment in any other coaching capacity with any other Mid-American Conference program during the duration of her contract.
Whitesell was hired as head men’s coach in April of 2019 and enters his third season; UB reached the MAC Tournament championship game in March, and played in the National Invitational Tournament. He previously was an assistant coach on Nate Oats' staff at UB, prior to his promotion in 2019.
Whitesell's original contract, which The News also obtained through a FOIL request, ran through April 5, 2024. Whitesell currently earns an annual base salary of $300,000, and annual additional compensation of $100,000.
Whitesell’s contract extension includes an agreement that the school would owe him $600,000 if he is terminated by UB before April 5, 2022, and that buyout would drop by $100,000 in each of the following years, until the expiration date of the contract.
If Whitesell is to leave before April 5, 2022, he would owe UB $600,000, and that figure would drop by $100,000 in each of the following years, until the expiration date of the contract.
Whitesell's amended contract also includes a $30,000 bonus for winning the MAC regular-season championship, and a $30,000 bonus pool for staff and assistants. His original contract included a $15,000 bonus and $15,000 bonus pool for staff and assistants for winning the MAC East championship, and that has been deleted under the new contract terms.
Whitesell said the extension provides more stability, which helps in recruiting, and gives the program momentum going into the 2021-22 season.
"When you go into recruiting, you can say, 'this is the objective, this is our relationship, and you can feel it's very good that way, in terms of the stability,' ” Whitesell said. "I’ve been fortunate to work at UB for seven years and I know the ins and outs of the university. I understand the mission and how important the basketball program is, and having that experience has been very, very beneficial to me, working with Nate and the group I worked with, and I hope I can continue tradition and build off it.
"That’s the fun thing that goes with it, and the extension is a real positive. It tells you, we’re in a good place, and the program has been rising and we’re going to continue to do those things. When you have that, you're able to foster that with the kids.”
Legette-Jack enters her 10th season as UB's women's basketball coach. She is 177-107 at the helm of the program, and she has led the Bulls to eight straight winning seasons, including a 15-9 record in 2020-21.
Legette-Jack's previous contract ran through March 31, 2024. Legette-Jack earns an annual base salary of $270,000, and annual additional compensation of $75,000.
Legette-Jack’s new contract extension includes an agreement that the school would owe her $600,000 if she is terminated by UB before March 31, 2022. That would drop to $450,000 if she is terminated between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023; to $275,000 between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024, and to $150,000 between April 1, 2024, and March 31, 2025.
If Legette-Jack leaves prior to April 5, 2022, she would owe UB $100,000, and that figure would drop by $25,000 each year. She would not owe UB any money if she leaves between April 6, 2024, and April 5, 2025.
Legette-Jack’s amended contract also eliminates a clause that would give her a $7,500 bonus if the Bulls win the MAC East title.
Legette-Jack was unavailable for comment, according to an athletic department spokesperson.
"I am excited about this opportunity that our administration has given to me to continue to build upon our successes both on and off the court," Legette-Jack said in a statement. "To have longevity is very important when it comes to recruiting the next level of future Bulls and we are excited to grow this program to newfound heights."