Jim Leavitt coaches at South Florida. (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File) Phil Coale ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jim Leavitt coaches at South Florida. (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File) Phil Coale ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kansas State University

Oregon's Jim Leavitt has Kansas State loophole in contract

By Kellis Robinett

krobinett@wichitaeagle.com

December 29, 2016 06:11 PM

Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt has an interesting loophole in his new contract with the Ducks.

He won’t be required to pay the school any portion of his buyout should he leave to become a head coach at Kansas State.

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According to his contract, he would owe Oregon $500,000 if he leaves for any other job before Jan. 31, 2018 and $250,000 for any other job after that date but before Jan. 31, 2020. But “should he voluntarily terminate this agreement to become the head football coach at Kansas State University” his buyout would disappear.

Leavitt coached at K-State as an assistant for six seasons under current head coach Bill Snyder from 1990-95. He left to become the head coach at South Florida, where he led the team to a 95-57 record until he was fired in 2010 amid allegations of player mistreatment. Most recently, he was the defensive coordinator at Colorado, where he helped the Buffaloes turnaround their defense and reach the Pac-12 championship game this season.

Oregon will pay him a salary of $1.15 million, making him one of the highest paid coordinators in the country.

But he apparently has a desire to return to K-State as a head coach whenever Bill Snyder decides to retire.

Snyder, 77, just led the Wildcats to a 9-4 season that featured a 33-28 victory over Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl. He is expected to return as coach next season, but his long-term plans are a mystery. He has publicly said he wants his son, K-State special teams coordinator Sean Snyder, to replace him whenever he decides to retire.

But Snyder also remains close with Leavitt. Leavitt flew to New York last year to celebrate with Snyder when he was inducted into the college football Hall of Fame.

It is unclear how K-State athletic director John Currie views Leavitt, but K-State fans often mention him as a possible Snyder successor.

Should K-State ever target Leavitt as its head coach, it won’t have to pay a buyout to hire him.

K-State quarterback Jesse Ertz (16) receives the Texas Bowl trophy Wednesday night after K-State defeated Texas A&M 33-28. (Video by Bo Rader / Kansas.com/Dec. 28, 2016) brader@wichitaeagle.com

K-State coach Bill Snyder talks about winning the Texas Bowl Wednesday night in Houston. ( Video by Bo Rader / kansas.com) brader@wichitaeagle.com

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett