Dec. 23, 1997
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University athletic director Kathy B. Beauregard today announced that WMU head football coach Gary Darnell has agreed to the University's five-year contract offer. This ends negotiations that have gone on during Darnell's first year as Bronco coach.
"We're absolutely delighted to be able to make this announcement today," Beauregard said. "It's a wonderful Christmas present for our Bronco fans and supporters. We look forward to working with Gary and his staff as they continue their preparations for the 1998 campaign."
Inheriting a team that went 2-9, Darnell compiled an 8-3 record in 1997, his first season as the Bronco head coach. This was the biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I-A. As a result, several schools have tried to lure him away from WMU.
When he became a finalist for the head coaching vacancies at Temple University and the University of New Mexico, WMU stepped up its negotiation efforts.
"I'm happy to finally have the details of a contract worked out," Darnell said. "As a staff we are working very hard right now on the recruiting front in preparation for the 1998 season. We feel that we'll make a very serious championship run, and that's where our attention is focused."
The Broncos will kick of the 1998 season on Sept. 3 against Northern Illinois University in Waldo Stadium. Darnell came to WMU a year ago after being defensive coordinator at the University of Texas and a former assistant at Notre Dame, North Carolina and Florida.
Terms of the contract, which runs through the 2002 season, include a salary of $104,500 in the first year along with incentives that include the academic performance of student athletes, performance on the field, attendance and participation in post-season bowl games. The contract also includes a buy-out clause to retain the coach's services through the length of the contract.
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