July 18, 2024

MSU Extends Coaching Contracts of Beard, Cunningham

The Missouri State University Board of Governors is set to formally approve new contracts for coaches Beard and Cunningham at its upcoming meeting next week.

As MSU prepares to join Conference USA, Beard has received a new five-year contract extending through January 14, 2029, with a base salary of $315,000 for this season. This will increase to $450,000 in 2025, Missouri State’s first season in CUSA, with further salary increments planned for the subsequent years. The contract also includes achievement payments for meeting specific benchmarks in team GPA, APR, conference standings, victories, postseason appearances, attendance, coaching honors, and national rankings.

MSU Extends Coaching Contracts of Beard, Cunningham - Missouri State

“We are grateful for the support from Clif (Smart), Kyle (Moats), the Board of Governors, and incoming President (Richard B.) Williams,” Beard stated. “Our commitment to excellence will remain steadfast as we transition to FBS. Our student-athletes and staff are working diligently to finish strong in The Valley and build momentum for CUSA. It’s a great time to be a MoState Bear.”

In his debut season as Missouri State’s head coach in 2023, Beard’s team showed strong performances in November and boasted a top-ranked passing offense, placing fifth nationally among all FCS programs with 300.3 yards per game. The season included a notable home victory over No. 15 Northern Iowa and a closely contested finale against eventual national champion South Dakota State.

Cunningham’s five-year contract, with an additional year due to a new director of athletics clause, extends her tenure through May 31, 2030. Her base salary will be $385,000 in the first year and $405,000 in the second year, with further increases in the following years. The contract also features incentives for academic performance, attendance, victories, awards, and postseason success.

“I am thankful for the continued support of President Clif Smart and Kyle Moats,” Cunningham expressed. “I am proud to lead the Lady Bears and excited for the future. Our dedicated players and staff are working hard this summer to build a strong and connected team.”

Under Cunningham, the Lady Bears have achieved a 43-22 overall record in her first two seasons, with a 29-11 record in Missouri Valley Conference play. The team has secured consecutive 20-win seasons and made two postseason appearances.

The Board of Governors’ evaluation of athletic coaches’ and staff salaries and benefits occurs in executive session, as per the Missouri Open Meetings and Records Law, which requires a 72-hour notice for personnel decisions made in such sessions.

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