Colorado offensive coordinator, Sean Lewis, during the CU spring football game on April 22, 2023. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
While Sean Lewis isn’t technically the CU Buffs’ first million-dollar football assistant coach, Deion Sanders’ offensive coordinator is already knocking on the door.
Based on documentation provided by CU Boulder to The Post on Thursday, Lewis, who was hired by Sanders away from a head-coaching gig at Kent State, agreed to join the Buffs on a three-year, $2.7-million contract.
The 37-year-old play-caller is slated to make an $850,000 base and supplemental salary in 2023, a $900,000 salary in 2024 and a $950,000 salary in 2025.
Coach Prime’s defensive coordinator, former Alabama assistant Charles Kelly, received the same deal as Lewis — three years at $2.7 million — with identical incremental pay increases.
As coordinators, Lewis and Kelly received three-year contracts, while eight other assistants are working under two-year deals.
Of those, tight ends coach and former Broncos assistant Tim Brewster; running backs coach Gary Harrell; linebackers coach Andre Hart; and cornerbacks coach Kevin Mathis are the highest-paid, with each slated to make $400,000 in salary for 2023 and $425,000 in 2024.
Sanders’ salary pool of $5 million for his assistants also includes compensation for defensive ends coach Nick Williams ($350,000 in ’23; $375,000 in ’24), defensive tackles coach Sal Suneri ($325,000 in ’23; $385,000 in ’24), wide receivers coach Brett Bartolone ($315,000 in ’23; $340,000 in ’24) and offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle ($300,000 in ’23; $350,000 in ’24).
A CU spokesman told The Post that should Lewis or Kelly leave the Buffs before their contracts end for an NFL or NCAA position, they would owe the university 25% of the salary for the current contract year as liquidated damages. They would pay an additional 10% in damages if that position was with another Pac-12 football program. No damages would be owed if Lewis or Kelly take “(an) NCAA or NFL (head coaching) position or an NFL coordinator coaching position.”
If either coordinator were to be fired without cause, they will receive 85% of the remaining salaries owed over the length of their original contracts. Lewis and Kelly are also entitled to unspecified bonuses that CU said would be at the discretion of athletic director Rick George.
As an active FBS head coach, Lewis was Sanders’ biggest get for his initial Buffs staff. He was also among the most expensive — CU paid Kent State a $750,000 buyout to procure Lewis’ services. As coach of the Flashes of the Mid-American Conference, Lewis reportedly made $530,000 last year.
Last February, CU agreed to give then-new Buffs offensive coordinator Mike Sanford a three-year deal worth $2.1 million in base and supplemental salaries. Sanford made $650,000 in base and supplemental salary in 2022 — $200,000 less than Lewis’ ’23 number — with a $100,000 monthly bonus for each month served as interim coach. Sanford was slated to make $700,000 in salary for 2023 and $750,000 for 2024. After a December termination, sources said, Sanford was still due to be paid at an 80% rate for each of those contracted seasons, meaning CU owes him at least $1.16 million through the 2024-25 fiscal year.