Bob Chesney’s Salary, Contract, Net Worth, and More

    Bob Chesney makes the leap from Holy Cross to the JMU Dukes with a salary, contract, and net worth indicative of his previous success.

    A highly successful FCS entity making the leap to the FBS, the marriage of Bob Chesney and the James Madison Dukes is a match made in heaven. How much will their new head coach command in 2024 and beyond? Chesney’s salary, contract, and net worth detail the price of continued success in Harrisonburg.

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    Bob Chesney’s Salary and Contract in 2024

    After emerging as the leading contender to be James Madison’s new head coach, Chesney signed a memorandum of understanding on Dec. 7, essentially accepting terms to join the Dukes from the 2024 college football campaign. Chesney has a five-year contract paying the former Holy Cross Crusaders’ head coach a base salary of $550,000 annually through Jan. 2029.

    However, there is more to the financial story for the new Dukes head coach. Chesney can bolster his salary with fundraising and retention bonuses woven into his contract. The first starts at $60,000 annually and jumps to $70,000 following his third year in Harrisonburg, with an $80,000 payout in 2025.

    MORE: James Madison 2024 Football Schedule 

    The retention bonus for the James Madison head coach is $140,000 per year until 2028 when it becomes $150,000. The final retention payment under his five-year contract is $160,000.

    The total salary package for Chesney under his five-year deal is commensurate with the highly-held opinion of his coaching abilities, as described by James Madison Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne following the announcement of the appointment of the new head coach.

    “We were methodical and intentional in casting a wide net to identify the next head coach of James Madison football, and I confidently believe that we found the total package in Bob Chesney,” Bourne said.

    “Ideally, we wanted a proven head coach with a track record of winning football games, both with frequency and against tough competition. We sought someone who would lead our young men to maximize their potential in all facets of life, including their off-the-field pursuits and academic success.”

    “We prioritized someone with experience at managing all facets of a modern Division I football program and particularly with ties to the East Coast. We also desired someone who would connect with our staff, would resonate with our fan base and would relish the opportunity to be a JMU Duke. Bob Chesney checks all those boxes and more.”

    The marriage between Chesney and James Madison has an air of poetic perfection. The Dukes, a former FCS powerhouse who have outperformed the odds in their first two seasons at the FBS level, are now coached by a former FCS heavyweight who is looking to establish himself amongst the 134 elite college football programs.

    The former Holy Cross head coach replaces Curt Cignetti after achieving unprecedented success with the Crusaders. In his six seasons at the program’s helm, Chesney led the team to five consecutive Patriot League Championships, recording an overall record of 44-21. He also has FBS scalps on his résumé, having beaten UConn in 2021 and Buffalo in 2022.

    Chesney may find himself the apple of the Power Five eye like his predecessor if that success translates to the Dukes. If that scenario happens before Jan. 2025, the James Madison head coach has a $1.75 million buyout clause in his contract. One year later, that becomes $1.25 million, before reducing to $500,000 after Feb. 2026, and $250,000 after Feb. 2027.

    Chesney’s Net Worth

    Under the terms of his new five-year contract with James Madison, Chesney has a net worth of $3.88 million. That comprises his base salary, fundraising bonus, and retention bonus. However, it doesn’t include any accrued value from his time at Holy Cross, nor does it factor in any performance-related bonuses, of which there are several.

    The full list of incentives in Chesney’s contract is as follows:

    • Finishing with an Academic Progress Rating (APR) higher than 970: $25,000
    • Finishing with an Academic Progress Rating (APR) higher than 985: $35,000
    • Sun Belt Championship Game appearance: $25,000
    • Winning the Sun Belt Championship Game: $50,000
    • Appearing in a Sun Belt-affiliated bowl game: $25,000
    • Winning a Sun Belt-affiliated bowl game: $25,000
    • Achieving seven regular season wins: $25,000
    • Achieving 11 regular season wins: $50,000
      * Chesney’s contract has a sliding scale structure that increases the bonus per win, but the amount for wins eight, nine, and 10 wasn’t readily available at the time of writing.
    • Sun Belt Conference Head Coach of the Year: $25,000
    • National Head Coach of the Year: $50,000
    • Wins over Power Five opponents: $15,000 per win
    • Top 25 finish in any of the major polls: $25,000
    • Making the College Football Playoff $100,000

    In addition to performance-related bonuses, Chesney will also receive an automobile allowance, health insurance, inclusion in a retirement program, a membership to the Spotswood Country Club, and an allocation of complimentary tickets. Meanwhile, his move from Massachusetts to Virginia is part-financed by a stipend of $20,000.

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