West Virginia University is going a lot greener in its football future.
The contract the Mountaineers have with their next coach, Dana Holgorsen, puts WVU back into the big leagues of coaching salaries both nationally and in the Big East.
Don't discount Holgorsen's $750,000 deal next season. It will make the offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting one of the nation's top five assistants in pay. Still, there's way more in the years beyond that.
Holgorsen's five-year deal as head coach is for $9.5 million. That includes base and supplemental pay but not incentives. The average is $1.9 million a year.
It's obvious that WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck is putting more than a lot of faith in a guy who never has been a head coach. For a comparison to that $1.9 million average, consider another rookie head coach with Mountain State ties.
When Clarksburg native and former Salem College star Jimbo Fisher was elevated from coach-in-waiting to become Bobby Bowden's successor at Florida State this past season, Fisher got a $1.8 million annual deal over five years.
Holgorsen went him $100,000 better, and his potential incentives are richer, too.
That's the neighborhood in which Luck wants to play - so WVU had better start selling more season tickets, start landing more Mountaineer Athletic Club contributions, start serious consideration of expanding Mountaineer Field and somehow, with Big East expansion, keep playing those seven home games annually.
As for expanding the stadium from the current capacity of a little less than 60,000, there's a hint about it in Holgorsen's term sheet, which became public Monday evening. A clause on incentive dollar levels for season ticket levels includes one for 40,000 seats sold.
WVU never has been able to sell that many because of the stadium size. The school record for full-season sales is 38,160, set in 2008. The figure dropped to 34,754 last season, and that erosion in support is one of the reasons Luck cited in firing Bill Stewart with a 2011 grace season.
Stewart's former contract had a 37,500 season ticket incentive category at the top. Holgorsen's has a 38,000 level as well as the 40,000 one.
Luck has said he would like to see WVU add some suites, club seats and general seating to the stadium's east side, opposite the pressbox. He told me two months ago that any new boxes could be placed either atop the existing stands or between decks and that WVU has brought in architects to consider options.
Holgorsen's annual average as head coach will put him - give or take a spot or two for hiring-and-firing before he takes over a year from now - into the top 30 in major college football coaching salaries.
His $1.9 million average will put him third in the Big East, behind Rutgers' 10-season man Greg Schiano ($2.01 million) and new Pitt hire Todd Graham ($2 million). Next is USF's Skip Holtz, who has a $1.82 million average over five years.
However, when TCU joins the Big East the same season Holgorsen is elevated to head coach, the Horned Frogs' Gary Patterson takes the salary title. The Rose Bowl winner just got an extension through 2018 that reportedly will pay him $2.5 million annually for starters - in the top 10 nationally.