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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Inside Pete Lembo’s current agreement with UB Athletics

The football coach has a higher base salary than his predecessor and opportunity to earn hundreds of thousands in bonuses

<p>Lembo headshot courtesy of Paul Hokanson/UB Athletics.</p>

Lembo headshot courtesy of Paul Hokanson/UB Athletics.

Pete Lembo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with University at Buffalo Athletics on Jan. 20, 2024 to become the new football head coach. He became the Bulls’ 28th head coach in program history after previously serving as head coach at Lehigh, Elon and UB’s Mid-American Conference (MAC) rival Ball State.

While not a formal agreement, the MOU — which was obtained by The Spectrum with a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request — spells out Lembo’s financial compensation, performance incentives and buyout schedule.  It also stipulates that Lembo will be “incorporated into a formal employment contract with the University for execution at the earliest possible date.”

Here’s a look at the current agreement between Lembo and UB Athletics:


Under the MOU he signed, Lembo will earn $500,000 as a base salary, more than the $475,000 base salary made by previous football head coach Maurice Linguist. 

Linguist’s contract allowed him to earn a significant amount of additional compensation. He earned a total of $684,500 in 2023, according to USA Today.

Lembo’s agreement is no different. He is granted an additional $225,000 under “Additional Annualized Compensation” in the MOU. This means that Lembo could earn $725,000 yearly as UB football’s head coach, not including performance incentives.

According to the MOU, Lembo also gets a monthly $500 car stipend, a university cell phone, free game tickets, a $30,000 moving stipend and full university benefits. 

Annual Performance Incentives

The MOU includes monetary bonuses for Lembo based on certain team success metrics, including victories throughout the season, conference championship appearances and wins, and earning an individual award.

For example, if Lembo were to reach eight wins with his team, he would be awarded a $15,000 bonus, and if he were to reach 12 wins (an undefeated season), he would receive $35,000. 

Lembo would also earn $15,000 if his team reached a MAC championship game, and $35,000 if he was to win the MAC championship.

He additionally gets the chance to earn $15,000 if he were to win the MAC “Coach of the Year” distinction at the end of the season. The last time a UB coach won this distinction was in 2020, by Lance Leipold, who now coaches at the University of Kansas.


Lembo and UB Athletics agreed to a five-year deal that expires on Dec. 31, 2028 or after the team’s last game of the 2028 season, whichever is later. 

Both UB and Lembo reserve the right to terminate the agreement prematurely without cause. If the university chooses to end the agreement before 2028, it will only have to pay the remaining base salary for the year. 

Lembo, on the other hand, will have to pay an amount dependent on the year he chooses to depart.  If he chooses to leave any time from now until Dec. 10, 2024, he will have to pay a $1.5 million buyout. If he chooses to leave anytime from Dec. 11, 2027 to Dec. 1, 2028, he will pay a $250,000 buyout.

Ricardo Castillo is the senior sports editor and can be reached at



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