SU board approves Dawson Odums’ deal

Advocate staff photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK Southern Chancellor James L. Llorens, left, Dawson Odums, center, and athletic director William Broussard share a laugh after Odums was introduced as the head football coach on Dec. 18.
Advocate staff photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK Southern Chancellor James L. Llorens, left, Dawson Odums, center, and athletic director William Broussard share a laugh after Odums was introduced as the head football coach on Dec. 18.

The Southern University System Board of Supervisors approved Dawson Odums’ new contract Friday, locking in a guaranteed two-year deal for the football coach worth $140,000 annually.

Odums comes at a far cheaper rate than predecessors Pete Richardson, who made $200,000 in base pay at the end of his 17-year tenure, and Stump Mitchell, whose contract included three guaranteed years at $200,000 annually.

But Odums’ contract includes performance bonuses that could get him close to the kind of money Richardson and Mitchell made.

“The previous contract paid such a guaranteed high amount,” Atheletic Director William Broussard said. “I want to incentivize winning and incentivize the kind of success we feel we can achieve here at Southern.”

Southern reassigned Mitchell on Sept. 14 after he posted a 6-18 record in two-plus seasons. Odums took over as interim head coach and led the Jaguars to a 4-5 record in nine games.

About three weeks after the season finale, and after Broussard conducted what he called a national search for a new long-term coach, he recommended Odums for the job.

Odums’ potential bonuses include:

Richardson and Mitchell both had bonus clauses for winning the Bayou Classic and SWAC championship, but no such bonuses for winning the Western Division or reaching the seven-win mark.

SU has just one seven-win season in the past eight years.

“We wanted to put in some competitive bonuses,” Broussard said. “If we’re winning and playing championship football, with the kind of fan base we have, those bonuses will more than pay for themselves many times over.”

SU will also give Odums a one-time payment of up to $10,000 for moving expenses. Though that seems like a silly expense — after all, Odums has worked at Southern for two years already, serving as assistant coach and defensive coordinator before he became interim head coach last season — it is relatively reasonable.

Odums, a Shelby, N.C., native who came to Baton Rouge from North Carolina A&T, spent last season in a two-bedroom on-campus housing unit.

The contract also outlines reasons Southern could fire Odums with cause. Among the reasons: failure “to meet academic benchmarks (APR) established by the NCAA which results in penalties or sanctions being imposed by the NCAA or other governing authority.”

Chancellor James Llorens said the contract negotiations went smoothly and were finalized quickly.

Advocate staff writers Koran Addo and Scott Hotard
contributed to this report.