The same day he signed a contract extension, Kalen DeBoer was asked if his expectations surpassed the public’s prior to his debut season at the University of Washington.

“This is what I feel: I feel this is a championship caliber program,” DeBoer said Monday, a day before said extension was announced by the school. “It was just a matter of how quickly we could get to this point. Now we can talk a bit more about us being close to that. Nine wins, I think, starts putting you in those conversations. Ten does, obviously. You’ve got to get there, and we certainly aren’t there yet. We’ve got some work to do along with some help from others.

“I’m always more focused on the process and getting there and that we’re always improving. But this is a championship program. This has got the foundation that’s been set over many decades of success. It was just a matter of time, when we were going to get to that point.”

Time, it appears, is not an issue.

DeBoer — who has led the Huskies to a 9-2 record in his debut season in Seattle — has signed a two-year contract extension through 2028, the university announced Tuesday. The 48-year-old coach will receive $4.2 million in 2023, a $1 million raise. His compensation will also increase annually by $100,000, escalating to $4.7 million in 2028.

Additionally, DeBoer will earn a $500,000 retention bonus if still the Huskies’ coach on March 15, 2024, and March 15, 2026, as well as a $1 million bonus if still the head coach on March 15, 2028.

DeBoer’s amended contract contains both academic and athletic achievement incentives as well, including: $25,000 for a Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor, $50,000 for a national coach of the year honor, $50,000 for a Pac-12 championship game appearance, $100,000 for a Pac-12 championship game win, $75,000 for an appearance in a non-New Year’s Six bowl game, $300,000 for a New Year’s Six bowl berth, $400,000 for a College Football Playoff semifinal appearance, $850,000 for a CFP championship game appearance and $900,000 for a CFP championship win.


“My family and I have loved every minute of being here at this amazing institution in this world-class city,” DeBoer said in a statement. “We talk all the time about how it’s the people who set a place apart, and Husky Nation is filled with some of the best we have ever encountered. We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received and are excited to continue to build on the amazing tradition of success we have here at the University of Washington. Go Dawgs!”

His family has loved it enough, in fact, that Alexis DeBoer — Kalen’s daughter, and one of the top softball prospects in the 2024 class — verbally committed to UW in September. It appears her dad will share a campus for the entirety of her college career.

But should DeBoer leave for any college or professional coaching position prior to the end of his amended contract, he will owe the school the following:

Termination on or before | Amount owed

Jan. 31, 2025 | $12 million

Jan. 31, 2026 | $10 million

Jan. 31, 2027 | $7 million

Jan. 31, 2028 | $2.5 million

Of course, DeBoer’s extension appeared increasingly inevitable, given his immediate and significant success. The Huskies — who finished 4-8 under Jimmy Lake in 2021, and were slotted sixth in the Pac-12 preseason media poll this summer — are 9-2, ranked No. 13 in Tuesday’s updated College Football Playoff rankings. They sprinted out to a 4-0 start, manhandled then-No. 11 Michigan State, upset No. 6 Oregon in a rare road rivalry win, and capped a 7-0 home slate with a 54-7 victory over Colorado on Senior Day.

With the Apple Cup looming on Saturday, a Pac-12 championship appearance and Rose Bowl berth remain in play.

But while his success in Seattle has been swift, DeBoer’s path to Power Five prominence was the opposite. The Milbank, South Dakota, native’s coaching stops include the University of Sioux Falls (his alma mater, 2000-09), Southern Illinois (2010-13), Eastern Michigan (2014-16), a single season at Indiana (2019) and two stints at Fresno State (2017-18, 2020-21).


“As guys get to know him and get around him day in and day out, there’s just that quiet confidence and belief that, ‘Hey man, it’s worked at a number of different spots,’ ” UW edge coach (and former Fresno State assistant) Eric Schmidt said this summer. “And then it comes down to rolling up your sleeves and going to work. That’s the one thing that sometimes being a defensive coach, you look at the offensive mantra as out-scheming people and all that stuff. Kalen works.

“Our guys are going to work in the offseason. They’re going to work in the preseason. Really, we don’t even call it offseason anymore. It’s the winter season. He’s been able to surround himself with some really good people, guys who fit his personality. Everybody does their own little thing. He does a good job in the hiring process, knowing what he thinks we’re going to need. I just think he has a really good knack for putting the right pieces in place and really knowing what the strengths and weaknesses are.”

From Sioux Falls to Fresno, and four stops in between, DeBoer arrived last winter at a championship program. Or at least, it was.

And can be again.

“It is clear that Kalen is such an amazing fit at the University of Washington,” UW athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement. “He has come in and made an incredible impact in every aspect of the program, our department, the University and the Seattle community. Kalen is an elite competitor who approaches each and every situation with the utmost class and integrity.

“We couldn’t be more excited that he and his family will be on Montlake for the foreseeable future leading these tremendous young men in our football program.”