By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved in a special meeting Wednesday the employment agreement for Ben Johnson, the new Gophers men’s basketball coach.

Per the deal, Johnson’s contract will last for five years, running through April 30, 2026, at a base salary starting at $1.95 million annually. His salary will rank 13th among the 14 Big Ten head men’s basketball coaches for the coming season, the university says.

Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle tapped Johnson, a U of M alum, for the head coaching job in March after the university fired former head coach Richard Pitino.

Johnson, 40, has never held the position of head coach before, but he worked on Pitino’s staff in Minnesota for five years before leaving for Xavier, where he worked for three seasons.

While at the helm of the Gophers program, one of Johnson’s main tasks will be to persuade more Minnesota high school stars to don the maroon and gold. Johnson himself was a high school standout at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis and spent two seasons at Northwestern before transferring to the University of Minnesota.