Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir held a press conference today in the wake of Grant McCasland leaving the school to take over as the head men’s basketball coach at North Texas.
Mohajir pulled back the curtain a little on how UNT landed McCasland and how big of a financial commitment the school is making in the process.
While Mohajir didn’t directly say what UNT is paying McCasland, he did said the Red Wolves’ former coach will be the second-highest paid coach in Conference USA.
Tony Benford made $400,000 in his final season at UNT this year. Mohajir said ASU offered McCasland a five-year contract at $400,000 per year a few days ago.
“I am surprised about the money,” Mohajir said. “They have made a huge commitment.”
That commitment will include a significant buyout payment. McCasland has a $500,000 buyout in his contract that drops to $300,000 after his first year is up. He signed his original deal at Arkansas State on April 2 of last year.
Mohajir said UNT has 20 days to cover that buyout payment.
Mohajir said family issues played a key role in McCasland’s decision to leave the school for UNT.
“Purely family,” Mohajir said. “I am going to be candid with you. He said this is a better job, a top three job in the Sun Belt. He has family in Texas. His dad had a stroke a couple of years ago. He wants to be there to support his family.
“He has said multiple times that it wasn’t for the money, although it is significantly more.”
Mohajir said Baker called him on Friday to ask to talk with McCasland.
The process moved quickly from that point. Mohajir said that McCasland’s agent is close friends with UNT athletic director Wren Baker.
“I found out this last Friday that he as in serious discussions with another institution,” Mohajir said. “I found out this morning that he had an official offer and accepted it.”
Mohajir also mentioned that UNT athletic director Wren Baker is close fr