Florida women's basketball coach Kelly Rae Finley gets five-year, $3.7 million deal

Graham Hall
Gator Sports
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Florida women’s basketball coach Kelly Rae Finley signed a five-year deal that will reach $740,000 annually between salary and incentives by March 1, 2023, according to a public records request fulfilled by the University's Athletic Association. 

Finley — who was named a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday — will receive a base salary of $450,000, according to the contract, which runs from Feb. 27, 2022 until April 15, 2027. 

Finley will also receive a $71,000 "talent" incentive payment, a $4,000 "academic" incentive, a personal travel allowance of $40,000, a $25,000 equipment supplement from UF's endorsement contract with Nike, and a $50,000 expense account that begins Jan. 1, 2023. Beginning March 1, 2023, the 36-year-old head coach will also receive an annual $100,000 longevity incentive, provided she's still employed as UF's head coach.

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Finley's $3.7 million contract makes her the ninth-highest paid head coach in SEC women's basketball when factoring in Texas and Oklahoma, the two schools set to join the SEC beginning in 2025. Vanderbilt University, a private school, isn't required to publicize contract details. 

Kelly Rae Finley a semifinalist for Coach of the Year

On Tuesday, the Atlanta Tip-off Club announced Finley as one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award, 

In addition to Finley, the semifinalists include Jennie Baranczyk (Oklahoma), Kim Barnes-Arico (Michigan), Nicki Collen (Baylor), Jeff Judkins (BYU), Wes Moore (NC State), Kim Mulkey (LSU), Dawn Staley (South Carolina), Tara VanDeer (Stanford) and Jeff Walz (Louisville). The winner will be announced March 30.

During Finley's first season at the helm, the Gators won 20 games for the first time since the 2015-16 season and finishing fifth in the Southeastern Conference. The Gators were picked to finish 11th in the SEC preseason poll in the fall following the departure of former coach Cameron Newbauer.  

What's next for Florida women? 

As Selection Sunday approaches, it is likely that the Gators will find themselves in the NCAA Tournament field of 68 for the first time since 2015-16. Florida will find out its  future Sunday, March 13, at 8 p.m. with the NCAA Selection Show.

Throughout the regular season, the Gators knocked off five top-25 ranked opponents, the program’s first such stretch since the 2005-06 season. Prior to cracking the rankings, Florida secured a 25-point defeat of No. 7 Tennessee, marking the Lady Vols’ worst loss against an unranked squad since the Associated Press’ poll began in 1976. 

Under Finley's tutelage, graduate Kiara "Kiki" Smith — who was injured in Florida’s comeback victory over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament — earned First Team All-SEC honors after leading the Gators in multiple statistical categories this season, including points (14.6), rebounds (5.5), assists (4.6) and steals (2.4) per game. During conference play, Smith was even better, averaging 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game en route to claiming two SEC Player of the Week honors during her sixth season of collegiate basketball. 

Alberte Rimdal, a native of Koge, Denmark, also picked up SEC postseason honors, being named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. Rimdal had an impressive debut season with the Gators, averaging 4.7 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

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