New gymnastics coach Danna Durante gets rich deal from UGA

ATHENS – Danna Durante’s decision to leave Cal to become Georgia’s gymnastics coach made her a wealthy woman.

According to a memorandum of understanding, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through state open records laws, Durante agreed to a financial package worth more than $1.2 million dollars to coach the Gymdogs.

Durante agreed to a six-year deal that will expire in June 2018 and guarantees her $175,000 annually in base salary. She will also receive $10,000 annually per UGA’s shoe-and-clothing endorsement and another $10,000 per year as a longevity bonus to be paid at completion of the contract. Durante also is to receive a $30,000 signing bonus and another one-time payment of $25,000 as recovery for lost revenues from her gymnastics camp at Cal.

That adds up to $1,225,000. Durante will have the opportunity to earn more money through performance bonuses, camps and outside endorsements. All of that will eventually be spelled out in a contract, which is in the process of being drawn up. Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, who currently in Destin, Fla., for the SEC spring meetings, has yet to sign the memo of understanding. It was signed by Durante on May 21.

Durante, 39, was at Cal as head gymnastics coach for just one season before agreeing to succeed Jay Clark at Georgia. Clark made $130,000 a year in base salary — excluding bonuses and $20,000 annually for an apparel endorsement — in his three seasons as gymnastics. He resigned earlier this month with two years remaining on his contract.

Former UGA gymnastics coach Suzanne Yoculan, who won 10 national championships with the Bulldogs, made $275,000 a year in base salary before she retired in 2009.

Durante is in Athens this week looking for a house and meeting with her new staff. Georgia has yet to make an announcement but indications are she has hired Philip Ogletree from LSU and Jay Hogue from Denver. Longtime assistant Doug McAvinn, a vault specialist, is expected to remain at UGA but in a different capacity. He has been with the program 27 years.

– Chip Towers, The UGA Blog

27 comments Add your comment


May 31st, 2012
7:26 am

Hum, life of contract about 4 months pay for Richt…..And what is Richt to think as dean of SEC coach’s making about 40% of what Saban makes?


May 31st, 2012
7:27 am

Focus on the Family

May 31st, 2012
7:49 am



May 31st, 2012
8:19 am

Let’s hope she does better than McGarity’s first hire: the women’s volleyball coach he hired this year ended up with a worse record than the VB coach McGarity fired.


May 31st, 2012
8:56 am

Way to go McGarity, this is exactly what Foley did and FLA and why you were hired.

Gulf Shores Dawg

May 31st, 2012
9:06 am

Our AD will continually upgrade all our programs, keep up the good work GM…


May 31st, 2012
9:08 am

If she preach fundamentals first and her ultimate goals are to win championships then this could be a good hire for the dawgs.


May 31st, 2012
9:22 am

How does making $1.2 mil over 6 years make her a millionaire? Unless she has zero expenses and finds a way to pay zero income tax, there’s no chance she’ll be a millionaire at the end of that contract term.


May 31st, 2012
9:47 am

LOL. Exactly, Joe.


May 31st, 2012
9:52 am

JB, seniority is not always better and I am in my 50’s lol… Coaching is a results based business and yes MR has a very nice resume at Ga, he does not have the resume of NS. Add in the fact that NS has raised the bar for the entire Alabama athletic department, one can argue easily he is under paid. UA has won 3 National Championships this school year with womens softball and mens golf on the table this wkend.


May 31st, 2012
9:58 am

Not much has gone right for UGA athletics since the “Kentucky Kiss”. Please CMR, do not celebrate like we just won the BCS after beating a sorry Kentucky team. I knew that was gonna bring us bad luck and it has. Basketball and spring athletics has been as sorry as I have ever seen. Plus let’s not forget UGA only beat GT after the kiss.


May 31st, 2012
10:01 am

What exactly are her qualifications? Coaching Cal?

Did McGarity buy a Harley recently?


May 31st, 2012
10:07 am

JB, as popular as he is in the Athletic Dept, I suspect if Richt could actually win a BCS Title, he would get a lifetime contract, as well as “Saban money,” don’t you?

I was all for Richt getting a raise after ‘07 – finishing #2 and ‘08 looking so rosey with Stafford, Knowshon, and Mo Mass back – but oh well . . .

The more I hear about the new deal the more I like it. I truly hope Richt makes every single incentive bonus in that deal, but am pessimistic about it happening, even with the favorable schedule. I’ve seen ultra-talented teams of his come up short several times in his time at Athens.


May 31st, 2012
10:17 am

Good luck to the Dawgs in the NCAA Men’s Baseball Tournament!
Wait, you’re not . . . . , oh.

[...] UGA Sport [...]

Judge Dawg

May 31st, 2012
11:13 am

Stupid story. This is at least what I would expect a coach for major program to get. But I guess if I was a writer for the AJC, it would seem like a fortune.


May 31st, 2012
12:40 pm

Only a blog writer would come up with this – after 40 years of working for pretty good money, I now find that all I have to do is add up all my income to find out that I am a multi-millionaire. Please don’t tell me wife and kids…..or the IRS. What a stupid article.


May 31st, 2012
12:47 pm


I agree. McGarity is “tap dancing” around the issues involving Richt’s contract. Regardless of how I feel about the “coaching”, he deserves a raise to at least $3.5 mil. It’s not as if Georgia has sucked terribly in football or something. This is why the contract isn’t signed yet: Performance bonuses but no raise after 11 years. Now if he had “won” a NC, then it would be $5 mil minimum. So giving Richt a little bit of a raise isn’t such a bad idea.


May 31st, 2012
2:07 pm

Well good luck..better make sure that you don’t screw up now because if you don’t make it this year
you re gonna be on hot seat and resign like Mr Jay Clark.


May 31st, 2012
4:48 pm




May 31st, 2012
5:03 pm

Way to go UGA


May 31st, 2012
5:05 pm

Nice, but making 125 k a yr for 8 yrs may add up to $1M, but it doesnt make you a millionaire. You actually have to spend most of that .


May 31st, 2012
9:15 pm

I think most people who follow UGA gymnastics like myself are going to find this interesting. I think Danna could be a really good hire and the pay might be really appropriate for this prestigious position, however, the fact that Jay is gone in the first place is still puzzling. I mean his resignation would have made more sense last year, but this year the beam situation at nationals was just unfortunate (3 falls after county zero falls during the regular season, which was a school record). Jay has given so much to the UGA gymnastics program and a $35,000 pay increase for the new coach seems a bit much….oh wait I guess we’ll just increase tuition/fees and let all of the rich students (parents) pay for it.

Hair E Dawg

June 1st, 2012
9:24 am

I don’t care, I just hope our program starts winning again!

Iron Cross Dog

June 1st, 2012
12:39 pm

Hey, new Gymnastics coach from Cal, huh? First I’d heard of it. How did she do at Cal?


June 1st, 2012
2:13 pm

How does $200,000 a year for 6yrs make that a “big” contract???

Please! Must be a slow day for such a misleading headline!

The waterboy for UGA football makes about that much a yr…

Fire Landers

June 2nd, 2012
10:28 am

How long its gonna take McGarity to fire Laners???? He’s got to be the most underachieving coach in UGA history. Has the deepest recruiting talent base in the country but can’t seem to get it done. Wins most games on just the talent alone but is consistently outcoached year in/year out in big games or versus equal or better talent.