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Kansas and coach Lance Leipold have agreed to a new contract that will put his annual salary above $7 million, the school announced Wednesday. The deal solidifies Leipold's status as one of the three highest-paid coaches in the Big 12, falling in the same range as Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Oklahoma's Brent Venables -- at least until the Sooners depart for the SEC this summer. The agreement does not extend the length of Leipold's contract, which still runs through 2029.

"We are incredibly proud of what our football program has accomplished over the first three seasons in Lawrence, and look forward to the continued challenge of bringing a consistent winner and championship home to the University of Kansas," Leipold said in a statement released by the school. 

Leipold made just under $6 million in 2023 when he guided the Jayhawks to a 9-4 record, their highest win total since 2007. Leipold, who was hired in 2021 following a successful stint at Buffalo, has steadily rebuilt Kansas after the program suffered over a decade of consecutive losing seasons. 

He went 2-10 in his first season with the Jayhawks before engineering one of the nation's most impressive turnarounds in 2022, leading Kansas to a 6-6 regular season showing and an appearance in the Liberty Bowl -- their first postseason berth since 2008. Kansas opened that year 5-0 and climbed into the AP Top 25 for the first time in 13 years. 

The Jayhawks continued their steady ascent under Leipold last season, capping an eight-win regular season with a victory against UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. Kansas came in at No. 23 in the final AP poll of the year, marking just the second time since the turn of the century that it has finished the year ranked. That 2023 season was also highlighted by an upset win against No. 6 Oklahoma, which was Kansas' first home win against a top-10 opponent since 1984 and its first win over Oklahoma since 1997. 

Kansas is 15-11 in its last two seasons under Leipold, including an 8-10 record in conference play. Five of those Big 12 wins came last season, its highest single-season conference win total since the 2011-12 conference realignment cycle. 

Kansas investing in football 

Leipold did such an impressive job with the Jayhawks in 2022 that his name was mentioned with several prominent openings during the ensuing coaching carousel. Kansas responded with a new contract that more than doubled his salary at the time. 

In August 2023 the university announced a $300 million project to renovate David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the surrounding area. The project includes renovations and expansions to Kansas' athletic facility, enhancements to the football stadium and a "Gateway District" that will bring new dining experiences and fan amenities to the area. 

"Today's announcement is an indicator of two absolute truths surrounding Kansas Football - Lance Leipold is among the very best coaches and leaders in the country and the University of Kansas continues to be unwavering in its commitment to building a championship-caliber football program for the long haul," Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement released by the school. "Since Lance and his staff arrived in Lawrence, our program has seen exponential growth in every facet both on and off the field." 

Kansas started the requisite demolition and subsequent construction in December. As a result, the football team will split its 2024 home games between Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium and Children's Mercy Park.