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