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July 3, 2012

Gary Henderson receives five-year contract

Head baseball coach Gary Henderson has signed a new five-year deal to stay at Kentucky, it was announced on Wednesday.

Henderson guided the team to a school-record 45 wins (with 18 losses) this year, including the program's best finishes in the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournaments. He was also named SEC Coach of the Year in 2012. In his four years as head coach, his record is 129-99 (51-69 SEC).

"He has led our program to a spot now where we have a chance to move forward in a very special, unique way," athletic director Mitch Barnhart said. "We wanted to make sure that we honored the efforts he had made the last few years and set the stage for us going forward for giving us a chance to hopefully have a lot of fun in this league and give players a chance to compete for championships."

He will make $325,000 in base salary for the first year of the deal, which runs from June 13, 2012 to June 30, 2013. He'll make $340,000 in the second year of the contract, $355,000 in the third year, and $375,000 in each of the last two years. He'll also make $75,000 annually in media rights. That makes the contract worth a total of $2.145 million over five years.

Henderson made a total of $287,500 between his base salary and media deal last year and had been set to make $300,000 for 2012-13 before signing the new deal.

"I'm really glad that I know where Ty Henderson is going to go to school for the next five years," Henderson said of his son. "That's probably number one. I'm glad that we did it again here for a year and I'm really eager to put two back-to-back."

Other compensation in the contract includes up to 20 tickets per home baseball game, four tickets per home football game and two tickets per home basketball game. Henderson will also receive use of a car from the university.

Henderson will also receive incentives based on the team's performance in the SEC and NCAA tournaments, as well as a $2,500 annual bonus for achieving an APR score of at least .950 in an academic year.

The program failed to make the NCAA Tournament in each of Henderson's first three years before the breakthrough in 2012, which was one of the best seasons in program history. Before being named head coach, Henderson was pitching coach at UK from 2004-08 under John Cohen.

"Our goals are pretty clear. We're in the SEC," Henderson said. "I think they're pretty much understood."

The five-year deal also provides stability for the program as the athletic department looks at a major baseball renovation, Barnhart said. Updating Cliff Hagan Stadium or constructing a new stadium are both options Barnhart mentioned as possibilities in the near future.

Asked if Barnhart had a timetable for a new facility, he said he'd be "disappointed if we weren't there" in a couple of years.

"We know our facility needs some help, whether it's there or whether it's moved over to Alumni Drive, something like that," Barnhart said. "Those are probably our two options. How we make that work, as fast as possible, is critically important to the ability to help Gary."

Barnhart also cautioned that plans for a new baseball stadium would have to fit into a larger plan for the athletic department and the university as a whole.

Two of Henderson's assistants will receive new contracts as well. Hitting coach Brian Green signed a two-year deal worth $155,000 a year, plus incentives. Recruiting coordinator Brad Bohannon signed a two-year deal worth $145,000 annually, plus incentives.

"I think Kentucky is a great place to work. I think Lexington is a great place to live," Henderson said. "Besides enjoying those two aspects of your job, I feel really good about our coaching staff. In order to continue to feel good about that as the four of us are sitting in the coaching locker room, you have to win. That's the bottom line."

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