Football salaries at the University of Toledo are going up - about $100,000 from last season - and students will help foot the bill.
UT has allocated $680,000 for football coaching salaries for the 2001 season, and interim President William Decatur says student fees will be increased to help cover the cost.
Mr. Decatur and UT board Chairman James Tuschman say they plan to meet with the men's and women's basketball coaching staffs soon to talk about higher salaries.
“It's not like we're tying to give our money away,” Mr. Tuschman said. “But we think we need to do this to stay competitive. We have seen how athletics can energize our campus.”
Mr. Decatur said the fee increase has not yet been determined. For the 2000-2001 school year, full-time students paid a general fee of $852.72, of which $337.06 went to fund athletics.
New head football coach Tom Amstutz, a Toledo native who was hired Dec. 12 to replace Gary Pinkel, recently signed an unprecedented five-year deal worth $190,000 per season. The school's other head coaches have three-year rollover contracts.
Coach Amstutz, 45, a longtime Toledo assistant, will have a base salary of $120,000 and will be paid $70,000 in marketing income, which includes television and radio.
Toledo's nine assistant football coaches will be paid between $480,000 and $490,000 this year.
“Where is the money coming from?” Mr. Decatur said. “Let me put on my VP finance hat for a minute. Some of it is going to have to be through some reallocations in athletics. We also are anticipating an increase in our student general fee.
“And this year a task force has been at work looking at our whole general-fee-supported budget, which includes not only athletics, but student activities, the student rec center, the student health center, a whole slew of areas. I put the force in charge with identifying ways for revenue enhancements or budget cuts to free up a significant amount of money” for athletics.
Coach Amstutz's deal also includes incentives - $10,000 for winning the Mid-American Conference's West Division, $12,000 for participating in the MAC championship game and meeting or exceeding the department's academic goals, $6,000 for winning the MAC championship, and $6,000 for winning the league title and participating in a bowl game.
“I've never gone into coaching to try to get money, to coach for money,” said Coach Amstutz. “I've coached because I love coaching. I love to work with young men and help make their lives better, and help make them become better people.
“I feel good about my contract,” Coach Amstutz said. “I feel the university and the administration showed faith in me because of all my years of service to the university. Five years is a vote of confidence to let me establish the program and get adjusted to the things that I think can get us to the next level.”
Mr. Amstutz, who was paid $63,000 last season as Mr. Pinkel's defensive coordinator and top assistant, won't coach his first game until Aug. 31, when the Rockets open their season against Minnesota on ESPN2.
Mr. Pinkel, the winningest coach in school history, resigned Nov. 30 to accept the head coaching job at Missouri. At Toledo he had a three-year rollover deal that paid him a base salary of $111,500. His total package was worth approximately $225,000, and made him one of the highest paid coaches in the MAC.
“From a MAC standpoint, the University of Toledo's athletic program has gone downhill,” Mr. Decatur said. “Our funding has remained fairly flat in constant dollars, whereas some of the other MAC schools have been increasing on a steady slope up. Our budget dropped from fourth in the early 1990s to around ninth now.”
Coach Amstutz's five-year deal has raised more than a few eyebrows among the university's hierarchy, even though the Board of Trustees is expected to approve the contract at its meeting next month.
A few years ago, Toledo basketball coach Stan Joplin tried to negotiate a five-year deal with UT Athletic Director Pete Liske, but was told that was not an option.
Mr. Liske also approved Coach Amstutz's hiring of offensive coordinator Rob Spence for $100,000 and defensive coordinator Lou West for $90,000.
Mr. Spence makes more in base salary than Coach Joplin ($96,999). Mr. Spence and Mr. West make more than women's basketball coach Mark Ehlen ($84,102).
“Obviously, football has had a great run for a couple of years and we're certainly starting to do a lot better with winning in basketball,” said Mr. Liske. “Mark Ehlen has done a great job with the women's program. We're winning in men's basketball now, but we still haven't won any championships or had any national rankings. We're well on our way now, which is great.”
Coach Joplin, 43, has one year remaining on his contract. In addition to his base salary he is paid $17,500 in marketing income.
His top assistant, Tony Jones, is paid $43,507, while Bob Simon earns $37,131 and Tim Saliers $16,913.
Coach Ehlen has two years remaining on his three-year rollover deal. His top assistant, Kim Clark, is paid $38,191, and Tina Langley gets $35,667.
“We are well aware of the fact that we need to bump our basketball salaries,” Mr. Tuschman said. “Mark Ehlen has done a great job. And Stan Joplin has done a fine job too. We plan to address that situation as soon as their tournaments and seasons are over.”
Coach Joplin's team won 20 games for the first time in 20 years this season and will play Alabama Tuesday night in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Meanwhile, Coach Ehlen's team plays in the NCAA Tournament tonight for the fourth time in his six years as coach.
Coach Joplin was offered a third year on his rollover deal by Mr. Liske last season, but he declined to sign it.
“Our success is all a reflection of the program and my staff,” Coach Joplin said Thursday. “I think the program is heading in the right direction. I'm not going to talk about my contract. But if they want to sit down and talk with me and [my lawyer] Jay Feldstein after the season, I wouldn't have a problem with that.”
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