Heyward, Johnson stay on Cristobal’s Oregon staff

December 29, 2017

Mario Cristobal’s staff will look a lot like Willie Taggart’s staff at Oregon.

Two more key assistants from the Ducks’ 2017 season, safeties coach Keith Heyward and wide receivers coach Michael Johnson, have signed contract extensions through the 2019 season.

“Keith is a rising star in this industry and played an instrumental role in our remarkable improvement defensively across all metrics, and we look forward to his continued impact in the development of our players,” Cristobal said in a release announcing the new deals on Thursday. “Michael has great experience in developing offensive talent in both college football and the NFL, and his tremendous contributions this season were reflected in the improvement of our young receivers and an offense that scored 40 or more points in seven games in 2017.”

Heyward’s annual base salary will jump from $375,000 to $450,000. Johnson will get a $60,000 raise, which will increase his annual base salary to $335,000.

Johnson and Heyward would owe 10 percent of their guaranteed salary if they were to leave Oregon before the completion of next season’s early signing signing period or the Ducks’ bowl game. Those buyouts would be waived if either assistant left to be an FBS coordinator with play-calling responsibilities or a head coach.

“Both Keith and Michael have a strong commitment to the Oregon program,” Cristobal said, “and their leadership and efforts will continue to provide great value to the Ducks moving forward.”

Cristobal previously retained defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and defensive line coach Joe Salave’a, who all got extensions and raises after Oregon’s 7-6 finish.

Cornerbacks coach Charles Clark is the only other full-time assistant still listed on Oregon’s website. Running backs coach Donte Pimpleton and special teams coordinator Raymond Woodie have joined Taggart’s staff at Florida State.

Clark, who followed Leavitt to Oregon from Colorado, signed a two-year contract with a base salary of $250,000 last year.

Leavitt, who made $1.15 million during his first year at Oregon, signed a four-year extension. The deal runs through Jan. 31, 2022, with an annual base salary of $1.7 million, which makes Leavitt the second-highest paid assistant at the FBS level.

If the former South Florida coach and NFL assistant were to leave before Jan. 31, 2019, he would owe Oregon $500,000. The buyout drops to $250,000 after that date, and no buyout would be owed if Leavitt were to be named the head coach at Kansas State.

Legendary Kansas State coach Bill Snyder still hasn’t announced if he will return next season or retire. The Wildcats defeated UCLA 35-17 in the Cactus Bowl on Tuesday.

Arroyo will earn $750,000 in 2018, $825,000 in 2019 and $850,000 in 2021. If he breaks the contract, he will owe 20 percent of his guaranteed salary at the time of his termination, but the buyout would be waived if Arroyo is hired as an FBS head coach.

Salave’a will have a $650,000 base salary over the next three years. He would also owe 20 percent of his guaranteed salary at the time of his termination, but the buyout would be waived if Salave’a becomes an FBS head coach or defensive coordinator.

Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @rgduckfootball. Email ryan.thorburn@registerguard.com.