Could Texas decide to mess with Oregon softball?
According to sources close to the situation, Oregon coach Mike White and Texas have some mutual interest over the Longhorns' vacant coaching position, but those sources added an offer had not been made as of Wednesday.
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and White agreed to a six-year contract worth $1.425 million in guaranteed salary (an average of $237,500 per year) in June 2015 after the coach interviewed with Arkansas and as ground was being broken on the $17.2 million Jane Sanders Stadium project.
White, whose deal at Oregon runs through June 30, 2021, has led the Ducks to five Pac-12 championships in the past six years and five Women’s College World Series appearances since 2012.
“We’re fully invested in softball and we want Mike White to lead our program for many years into the future,” Oregon athletic department spokesman Jimmy Stanton said Wednesday.
Connie Clark, Texas’ coach since the softball program began in 1996, stepped down last month after posting a 873-401-3 record over 22 seasons. She led the Longhorns to the WCWS five times with four Big 12 regular-season titles and four conference tournament titles.
Texas finished 33-26 (10-8 Big 12) in 2018, including an 8-0 loss to Oregon on Feb. 16 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
White has an impressive 435-111-1 record (.795 winning percentage) in nine seasons.
Clark reportedly had a base salary of $200,000 this year, but the market has recently been inflated with lucrative deals for elite coaches.
Texas’ rival, Oklahoma, signed coach Patty Gasso to a contract extension through 2024 that pays her an annual salary of $925,000. She has led the Sooners to four national championships.
In addition to the $235,000 base salary this season, White earned $90,000 in performance bonuses — $25,000 for winning the Pac-12 championship, $10,000 for an NCAA regional appearance, $15,000 for a super regional appearance and $40,000 for getting the Ducks to the WCWS.
If top-seeded Oregon would have advanced to the championship series in Oklahoma City, White would have received a $10,000 bonus. If the program had won its elusive first national championship, he would have received a $50,000 bonus.
White’s guaranteed salary increases to $240,000 on July 1, to $245,000 on July 1, 2019, and to $250,000 on July 1, 2020.
White, a three-time Pac-12 coach of the year (2013, 2014, 2016), has had 19 NFCA all-Americans.
Oregon matched the program record with four all-Americans in 2018 — pitcher Megan Kleist and catcher Gwen Svekis were on the first team, pitcher Miranda Elish was on the second team and third baseman Jenna Lilley was on the third team.
The Ducks finished 53-10 overall and 21-3 in Pac-12 play after being bounced from the WCWS by eventual champion Florida State. Oregon finished No. 6 in the final NFCA poll.
White’s top assistant, Jimmy Kolaitis, was hired as the head coach at Alabama-Birmingham last week.