HUNTINGTON — Fresh off winning the school’s first national championship, Marshall University scored another victory with its men’s soccer program Friday.
Marshall head coach Chris Grassie signed a new five-year agreement that will pay him $375,750 annually, according to a release by the university’s athletics department.
The new deal is also expected to include incentives, but specific details of the contract were not immediately released.
That base salary figure is triple what his previous salary became after a restructured contract in 2020.
“I’m so excited and pleased that Chris Grassie will continue to lead our men’s soccer program well into the future,” Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said. “He’s lived up to every expectation since we’ve hired him, and I know that the entire Thundering Herd fan base is thrilled to see this news today.”
From the university and athletics side, Marshall worked quickly to get a new contract for Grassie once the team earned its first-ever national championship in soccer with a 1-0 overtime win over Indiana in the championship game on Monday night in Cary, North Carolina.
After the team’s victory and celebration in Huntington on Tuesday, Marshall President Jerome Gilbert joined Hamrick, associate director of athletics and chief of staff Jeff O’Malley and Marshall Board of Governors member Bill Noe in the effort to get a suitable contract for Grassie in order.
Grassie’s recent success with Marshall’s program meant bigger schools would inquire about the Herd’s leader with the season now over, so the athletic department, President’s Office and Board of Governors worked in tandem to make sure Grassie stayed put in Huntington.
After an agreement was reached, Marshall Board of Governors Chairman Patrick Farrell called for an emergency meeting to discuss the contract with the athletics committee, led by chairman Chris Miller.
The athletics committee then recommended approval of the new deal with no dissent, which brought into action a full board meeting to discuss the athletics committee’s recommendation while giving Gilbert approval to enter into the agreement with Grassie.
The board’s vote was unanimous to approve the new deal, and Grassie — whom Gilbert said approved the terms of the new deal while on vacation — expressed his pleasure with remaining in Huntington while focusing on the future.
“Right now, we have the best program in the country,” Grassie said. “I want to make sure we continue to grow and evolve so we can win more championships.”
Gilbert was equally as excited with Grassie’s commitment to remain as the Herd’s leader.
“We’ve got a great coach and we’re going to keep him for another five years, for sure,” Gilbert said.
Before calling the meeting to adjourn, Farrell thanked all responsible for the swift work to get the contract finalized.
“The board gives its thanks to [Gilbert] and Mike Hamrick and Jeff O’Malley, who I know does a lot of the back-end work, and Bill Noe for being a part of this whole thing,” Farrell said. “These things are never easy and we got to the finish line.”
Grassie’s new contract takes him from one end of the college soccer coaching salary spectrum to the other.
In 2020, Grassie signed a new contract as a reward for the team’s 2019 NCAA tournament run that paid him $120,000 in base salary while also giving him incentives.
As Noe pointed out, the new contract places Grassie among the top tier in college soccer coaches in the country, a big bump from being among the lowest paid nationally.
Grassie’s contract from the 2020 extension called for a $120,000 base salary with incentives built in.
The incentives package included $10,000 for each NCAA tournament victory (five in the recent NCAA title run), $10,000 for an NCAA tournament appearance, $5,000 for a Conference USA title and $3,500 for being named Conference USA Coach of the Year.
There is also one incentive — National Coach of the Year — that Grassie could win that would be worth $10,000. That honor has not yet been announced by the United Soccer Coaches Association.
Prior to Friday’s emergency meeting, Grassie agreed in principle to the deal with Gilbert, and put out a social media post to confirm such around 12:45 p.m.
“Marshall are champions right now,” Grassie’s post said. “But we will be better. Huntington is full of lovely people committed to making it the greatest place in the country, and Marshall the best. We will do this together. I’m in.”