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Jeff Brohm's Extension Proves WKU Is Much More Than Stepping Stone

While everyone was breaking down who won and lost National Signing Day, Western Kentucky signed head coach Jeff Brohm to a four-year extension, proving that WKU is now much more than a stepping stone spot.

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Western Kentucky didn't necessarily "wow," anyone with their National Signing Day class yesterday. Not to say the class was poor or weak, but it certainly didn't overwhelm, in the way a Houston or a Marshall might have. The Tops picked up some nice pieces - guys like Chris Cotto, Tyler Witt and Xavier Lane - but, as a whole, nothing really to write home about. Rivals and 247Sports both ranked the Toppers seventh in Conference USA, while Scout was more generous with a ranking of third, behind monster-winners the Herd and re-upstarted UAB.

But, what the Tops lacked in splash of recruits signing, they more than made up for when it was announced head coach Jeff Brohm had signed a four-year extension, until 2019.

With the new deal comes some changes from the old one:

  • A base salary increase from $600,000 to $800,000 a year.
  • While the current buy-out of his contract is still set at $900,000, that number drops by $150,000 each year, instead of the original $300,000.
  • The non-compete clause is completely taken out - meaning, if he wanted to, Brohm could bolt to Louisville or Kentucky (or any other school in the state), he could do so immediately. In his original deal, he had to wait two years before returning to the Bluegrass.
  • Also gone is the "home-and-home clause," (unofficially named, of course). Unlike when Willie Taggart left for South Florida and Bobby Petrino went back to Louisville, if Brohm leaves before 2019, he isn't obligated to schedule a home-and-home with his new school and WKU. (For those wondering, the Tops/Bulls home and home is scheduled for 2023 and 2024, while the Tops and Cards have yet to schedule their matchups.)

In Zach's story (which I suggest reading, in the tweet above), he notes how Brohm really fought for these changes in his contract, including those last three, in order for it to be "fair."

Brohm said he sought some fairness in the new deal, especially with his inability to know who will be at WKU a few years down the road.
While, on the face of it, it may seem like a bad thing that some of those clauses were removed (probably most notably, the no-compete clause and the home and home clause), it's actually a good thing for WKU. With the FBS program still so young, many of the clauses WKU previously had were almost necessary. How else would they get guaranteed matchups against solid opponents? How else would the program make money, essentially? (Remember how everyone essentially praised WKU for how the Petrino deal was structured?)

But, WKU isn't at that level anymore. They have the notoriety. They're a conference champion. They're a back-to-back bowl winner. They're a 12-win team. And future contracts need to mirror that.

Arguably, most importantly, WKU has something they haven't had in a head coach in recent memory - trust. The Tops trust that this is where Brohm wants to be, and on multiple occasions has referred to WKU as a program he'd like to help build and continue to grow.

Western Kentucky is no longer a stepping-stone coaching job. At least, not in the sense that it used to be. Who knows, the Tops very well could have a Doc Holliday or a Chris Petersen with Brohm. They could just have the coach that puts them on the FBS long-term success map. Either way, this new deal is a great thing.

So, enjoy your signing day win, Marshall. The Tops have their offensive brain trust locked up, and they've got a title to defend.