NORMAN — With football coach Bob Stoops leaving last summer and President David Boren announcing his retirement in September, those in the University of Oklahoma community need not fear another high-profile departure.
Joe Castiglione, the athletic director hired by Boren and who then hired Stoops, has had his contract extended by the university to June 30, 2023. In addition, Castiglione was handed a raise to his base annual salary — from $375,000 to $450,000 — as well as increases to his retirement benefit (from $60,000 to $160,000) and stay bonus (from $110,000 to $150,000).
Castiglione also received an additional “stay benefit” of $400,000, which he will receive so long as he is still athletic director on June 30, 2020. He is also now allocated $790,000 annually “for fundraising, marketing, personal services and promotional activities.”
The extension and raise were approved during the OU Board of Regents’ regularly scheduled meeting, the last one attended by Boren, who is set to retire June 30. In a way, it represented a parting gift from Boren to Castiglione.
“I’ve never really, and will never, think of the success being about me,” Castiglione said. “It’s the teams that make it happen, the coaches who make it the best and the brightest, and the staff, we all work together to work toward the same goals. It’s them. I really would much prefer standing up with a whole bunch of people and say this is how it happens. It’s not just about one person.”
Boren and Board of Regents Chair Clayton Bennett praised Castiglione for his time at the university and his achievements. The board recognized the athletic director for 20 years with the university, going back to his appointment in April 1998.
Boren put Castiglione’s impact on OU athletics into perspective with one statistic at the meeting. He said should the OU softball team win another national title in the coming month — they start that path at the Big 12 tournament this weekend — Castiglione will have presided over half of the national titles won by all of OU’s athletics programs in university history.
“It’s not that we don’t take time to recognize or celebrate the achievements when they take place, but our focus is always looking down the road,” Castiglione said. “How do we get better, do the things that continuously put our programs in a position to be successful? With that being said, I’m not sure I ever stopped to look at the collective achievement from that perspective. So, it’s quite remarkable.”
The move by the university to extend Castiglione’s contract at this time is a clear signal. President Designate James Gallogly, who attended Thursday’s meeting and congratulated Castiglione, will take over for Boren starting July 1.
A change in leadership also can mean changes in other parts of the university. But with the contract extension, raise and additional stay bonus, it was made clear that both the regents and Gallogly want Castiglione to stick around for the foreseeable future.
“There are plenty of examples around the country where things don’t always go that way, for whatever reason,” Castiglione said. “So for me, the opportunity to continue to work with this stellar group of coaches and the quality student athletes we have, we can reflect on the foundation that has been built.”
Boren’s support for the athletics programs at OU has made their success possible, Castiglione said. The teams feed off of it, and he also believes they’ll feel the same support from Gallogly.
“He and Mrs. Boren are so supportive, so involved, and the teams feel it,” Castiglione said. “President Designate Gallogly has already shown he has great knowledge of what has taken place and the support he’ll give. It’s going to be a very seamless transition, and we want to continue to build on that.”
The timing of Castiglione’s contract extension is also notable for what is going on at his alma mater, the University of Maryland. The Terrapins are currently looking for a successor after Kevin Anderson resigned as athletic director.
Castiglione said he had received some messages from old friends, and there was speculation the university might reach out to him. But he said it’s clear where his heart lies.
“Something must have come out in the last day or so,” he said. “[Friends have] been sending me some text messages. I think this response is pretty clear.”