Saturday, July 23, 2011

Contracts, extensions may put new KU athletic director in tough spot



Kansas Athletics: Coaches and administrators contracts and salaries and the Lawrence Journal-World requested all of the contracts handed out to employees of Kansas Athletics before Sheahon Zenger was named athletic director in January of 2011.

New Kansas University Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger may be limited in his ability to make certain coaching changes in the coming years because of contracts signed by former KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins.

Perkins signed three multiyear deals and one extension in 2010, either before or around June 10, 2010, when he announced he would retire effective Sept. 4, 2011, according to documents obtained via a Journal-World open records request of Kansas Athletics Inc.

In his first six months on the job, Zenger has called KU’s last-place finish in the Big 12 last year in the all-sport Director’s Cup standings “unacceptable,” but said he won’t be making any head coaching changes for next season to try to improve.

“That’s the process we’re going through right now, a process of evaluation,” Zenger said Friday. “You then address wherever (coaches) feel they need help, and you give them all the support you can. Then you watch and see if you feel that they have the ability to move the program in the proper direction.”

Zenger on Friday said he expected when he took the job to have some coaches with years remaining on their contracts. He has not shaken things up in his first months on the job.

“I’m at the beginning of things here. I want to take this next year to particularly evaluate and look at things very closely,” he said.

Francis extension

The contract extension Perkins signed that took effect Jan. 1, 2010, was for women’s soccer coach Mark Francis, who had his previous contract — set to expire in June 2011 — extended through Dec. 31, 2014. In July 2010, his salary became $136,000 per year under the new deal.Francis’ extension was signed April 26, 2010, just before a rough period began for Perkins that included KU announcing that officials with ties to the KU ticket office and Williams Fund had drained at least $2 million in ticket revenue in a scandal that rocked the university. Federal prosecutors later said there was no evidence Perkins “knowingly participated” in the scheme.

Perkins eventually retired from KU one year earlier than he planned. Perkins had other troubles at the end of his tenure. In January, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission fined him $4,000 over an allegation he violated a ban on gifts to state officials by accepting free exercise equipment. Under an agreement, Perkins admitted no liability or intent to violate the law.

Hands tied

The 2010 contracts and extension do put Zenger, who Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little hired in January from Illinois State University, in a tough spot if he decides a coaching change is needed.

For instance, if Zenger decides to release Francis without cause following this season, KU would owe him $408,000 for the final years on his contract.

Under Francis, KU soccer had a winning record in the Big 12 each year from 2003 to 2007. It hasn’t finished above .500 in the conference since then. Last year, KU finished last in the Big 12 with a 1-9 record and a 6-13 mark overall.

This wasn’t the first time Perkins locked the department into a coach-friendly contract with a struggling program.

KU women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson collected base compensation of $1.83 million in 2009, according to the department’s IRS 990 form, largely based on a $1.3 million retention bonus before taxes. The bonus was guaranteed to her based on her first contract for staying at KU through April 15, 2009. She received a second $300,000 retention bonus in 2011 after taxes.

In her seven seasons, Henrickson has not taken the Jayhawks to the NCAA tournament, and her teams have never finished with a winning conference record.

Perkins also signed a pair of three-year deals that took effect July 1, 2010, locking up:

  • KU swimming and diving coach Clark Campbell through June 30, 2013, at $80,000 a year.
  • Women’s golf coach Erin O’Neil through June 30, 2013, at $75,000 a year.

Two other coaches received shorter contracts that also started on that date:

  • Women’s tennis coach Amy Hall-Holt through June 30, 2012, at $67,000 a year.
  • Men’s golf coach Kit Grove through June 30, 2011, at $60,000 a year.

Perkins did not return a phone message Friday seeking comment.

Zenger’s deals

How Zenger will handle nonrevenue sports contracts remains to be seen.

On July 1, 2011, Zenger signed off on two one-year contracts: one for rowing coach Rob Catloth and one for Grove. Both contracts expire June 30, 2012.

Both coaches did receive raises: Catloth from $65,000 to $73,000 and Grove from $60,000 to $75,000.

Zenger said Friday that earlier this month he gave softball coach Megan Smith a four-year contract extension. Smith’s salary was unavailable Friday, but under the old contract she made $90,000 annually.

“I extended her based upon what I had seen in nonconference play, attendance and culture within the team and her mindset and work ethic,” Zenger said.

He also said Smith was “pursued heavily” and offered a position at another BCS school. The softball team started the season 26-3 before beginning Big 12 play last year and finished the season 31-22. Perkins hired Smith in 2009, and she just finished her second season at KU.

Football coaches

Zenger also will be limited regarding changes on the football staff because of extensions that took effect just days before he was hired.

Contracts took effect Jan. 1 that KU interim Athletic Director Sean Lester signed giving one-year extensions for each of the following football assistant coaches: Buddy Wyatt, Robert Wimberly, Vic Shealy, Aaron Stamn, Reggie Mitchell and J.B. Grimes.

KU announced Zenger’s hiring Jan. 2, and he appeared the following day at a press conference. The new athletic director’s contract began Feb. 2, though Zenger has indicated he worked most days in January at his new job.

Each assistant football coach was previously signed through June 30, 2012, and Gray-Little agreed on the one-year extensions, which are common in college football for recruiting purposes, said Jim Marchiony, a KU associate athletic director who worked under Perkins and remains on staff.

“Essentially, they were heading into the last year of their contract,” Marchiony said. “We didn’t want to send any mixed messages about our support for our football coaching staff, so we extended them with the chancellor’s approval.”

Following those extensions, Zenger signed KU receivers coach David Beaty and linebackers coach Vantz Singletary through June 30, 2013. That means contracts for each KU football assistant expire on the same date.

If Zenger decided to make a change regarding any of the assistant coaches after this season, KU would owe the coach 1.5 years of pay. Depending on the coach, that would range from $180,000 to $525,000.

An entire staff change after this season would be even more difficult. KU head coach Turner Gill would still be owed $6 million on his five-year, $10 million deal if he were fired without cause.

If all the assistant coaches were released as well, the total tab would be more than $8.7 million — not including the money needed to hire a new coaching staff.


ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 6 months ago

Bash lew all you want for creating this problem but signing the softball coach to a 4 year extension based on preseason play??? Great! We beat the pants off of Ottawa and Washburn but how'd we do in big 12 play??? I'm scared our new leader might of based that decision on personal circumstances rather than on field performance. Strike one Zenger.

And FYI "LETC" your one year evaluation is a joke. There are these things called record books where you can look up past teams/coaches performance and form pretty solid opinions...

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 6 months ago

Oh, and awesome research guys. The amount of money all of these non revenue producing coaches make is astonishing. Anyone have any info on how there salaries compare to professors or associate profs?

texashawk10 9 years, 6 months ago

Salaries for professors depend on whether or not they are tenured and if they are tenured, they are making 6 figures a year. Non-tenured professors are making about the same as the non-revenue coaches depending on how long they've been at the university.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

Much like HC's, prof's income can be significantly influence by research dollars, publishing, ..., other income streams related to their position.

kckmedic 9 years, 6 months ago

There was a report when I went to KU that stated that professors are generally paid based on what they could make in their respective field if they weren't professors. So KU Business school would pay a 20 year Accounting professor roughly what he could make at an accounting firm with the same amount of experience. Essentially the theory is if you want the best to teach your students, then you had better pay to keep them.

riverdrifter 9 years, 6 months ago

What I want to know about Zenger is when the Big 12 disintegrates in the next few years if he thinks KU is joined at the hip with KSU regarding realignment. If so, he needs to be sent packing -straightaway.

texashawk10 9 years, 6 months ago

Zenger will have very little to do with that situation if it arises. It will be the people in Topeka that have the biggest impact on whether or not KU and KState stick together if the Big 12 implodes. If KU alums make up most of the state congress, you could see KU have a better shot of splitting from KSU, but it KSU alums are in control then KU and KSU will be joined at the hip.

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Does it really matter?

With Turner running the program into the ground, Kansas is destined for the WAC, MAC or Conference USA ... and Coach Self probably won't hang around much after that.


BigAl 9 years, 6 months ago

Mangino already had the program planted firmly in the ground. That 7 game losing skid, with much better players, was pitiful. He also left the program very much short of talent. Turner Gill had/has nowhere to go but up.

texashawk10 9 years, 6 months ago

And both went 1-7 in conference play. One had the advantage of arguably the greatest senior class in KU history while the other had a team left devoid of competitive talent.

blackhawkjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm thinking that KState wouldn't want to be saddled with our sorry butts. They probably would like more competition from Toledo or Ball State.

squawkhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Agree, why would KSU (13-1 over KU) want to be in the same conference with KU if the Big 12 disintegrates. They've proven that "big brother" isn't so big.

dinglesmith 9 years, 6 months ago

You could pay about 25 new engineering professors on Bill Self's compensation package.

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 6 months ago

Where would the funding come from to pay for eng profs. Self generates game day revenues that pays him what he is worth as well as carry KU Athletics.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

You could also hire more than 25 factory workers for what a CEO makes, so what sort of fruit salad are you trying to make here?

bulltown03 9 years, 6 months ago

First off, professors make money for the school. Tuition is what really brings money in to the school, not athletics. second Bill Self is the only coach still on staff that has won anything or made the school any money at all. Softball was the least of our worries, at least they won some games. Why in the world is the WBball coach being paid this much?? for comparison, the A&M coach got paid $800,000 last year. thats a half mil LESS than our coach. He won a national title and Bonnie didn't make the NCAA tournament. I am not in favor of a slash and burn approach to this but something must be done. Going 1-13 vs. KSU in a season is ridiculous and I'm tired of hearing about it from stater associates.

number1jayhawker 9 years, 6 months ago

Bonnie's base salary is less than the A&M coach by a long shot. If you read the whole article, the reason her salary looked inflated was because she received a couple of high dollar bonuses. Not uncommon for BCS coaches and ADs.

I am not sticking up for Bonnie. If she doesn't have a winning record this year, then they need to figure out a way to get rid of her.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 6 months ago

That's not the problem. The problem is we could of had the Newell Post sitting on the sideline and allowed posters send in the plays online for free and made it to the same amount of NCAA tournaments.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

While not the problem, as #1 agrees, it was the comment thread.

oldexbeat 9 years, 6 months ago

this article is the coup de grace' needed for all the anti-education, anti-science folks in Brownbackistan (ah, Kansas) to slash and burn KU's budget. The whole thing stinks. Perkins escapes jail barely, but only. How can one man make those agreements ? Isn't there a board in here someplace to approve them ? Didn't KU have any adults in charge under Hemenway ? Heads off to hemenway -- the most expensive and least useful chancellor in KU history. Really.

kckmedic 9 years, 6 months ago

You can tell that oldexbeat's post is purely political. That's why he jumps straight into name calling. He fails to realize that the board hires the AD and gives him autonomy to make decisions regarding the athletic program. He has his budget, which is completely separate from the University, and he gets to spend it the way he sees fit. If he says we need to pay this coach this much and he can justify it, then they will agree to it. I'm not justifying these moves but when you ask "How can one man make those aagreements?" you make no sense. It's the same in business when a board hires a CEO and gives him the green light to run the company. If his decisions turn out to be bad then they fire him and get a new one. But they don't micromanage.

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 6 months ago

I had a chance to listen to the chief counsel for the athletic department. Someone asked her point blank about the contract awarded to HCTG and she said that although she could advise Perkins, she was not authorized to negotiate or alter their deals in any way. Without throwing him directly under the bus, she at least gave him a good shove indicating that Perkins was given X dollars to spend, and he went out making deals he wanted to for the terms he dictated without taking much rational business thought into account. I'm not saying I want HCTG out right away, but you never sign a contract with those sorts of terms without including some sort of a buy-out clause. The blame should be Perkins' alone to bear, but I agree with some of the other posts that Zenger needs to take time to evaluate and see where improvements can be made. Throwing money and new coaches at the same problems only works for so long, but using that money for facilities and other improvements can help the respective program.

4everahawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Ron Olin was not hired in 2007. He has only just completed his first year in Athletics.

nnelson 9 years, 6 months ago

We have corrected that on our list. Ron Olin started September 1, 2010. Thanks for pointing it out.

Nick Nelson web producer

Steve Corder 9 years, 6 months ago

Someone tell me, when is an athletic director not in a tough spot in today's climate?

Steve Quatrocky 9 years, 6 months ago

As a long time manager, I dont see a problem. You are almost always better off to observe and improve the people you have in place until you determine, based on personal observations, if they have the ability to grow into your vision. If he came in and immediately had a bunch of turnover to deal with, he gets to put his stamp on the program with new coaches but being new in the job and boxed by time, the result may very well be a new coach that you still have to replace in 2-3 years.

I understand that there isnt much to write about in the dog days of summer but this article and Keegans conjecture regarding Berglund were better off not being published.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

My guess is there is a reason you are a long time manager, and not just your age. Good job keeping your knee from spasming.

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I don't think that I could've said it better myself ...

it is very likely that the long-term situation and reputation of our beloved alma mater is in serious jeopardy.

In other words - we're screwed.

squawkhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Zenger is a KSU guy so I'm betting he'll get things turned around. The Lew Perkins, mafioso style of AD, was a disaster.

Saguaro_Jayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I wonder how much longer John Hadl will continue on the job. He has to be over 70 yrs old by now.

I thought they were grooming Gale Sayers to take his place on the special gifts front, but both are pulling > $150K / yr base salaries now.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 6 months ago

Hcbs and his staff are the only ones on the list that actually bring in more money to the university than they are paid. If you did some kind of money to performance/attendance/notoriety ratio compared to the other coaches then the mens basketball staff would be worth a couple a mill a game.

The one thing we can all agree on is the shear rediculas amounts of dollars these coaches are being paid. Most doctors make less than our womens assistant basketball coach. I wish all of you remember that when the Williams fund comes calling or your packet comes in the mail.

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 6 months ago

Softball coaches salaries are a dime a dozen compared to paying our womens bball coach a bonus of over $1 million just for being here. No winning league record. Lew really stuck it to us (plus fattening his own bank acct.)....and Mr. Zenger really has his work cut out for him.

Our Sears Cup standing is "unacceptable." You can bet that if things don't start improving..and improving fast...changes WILL be made...and these coaches will be held accountable.

it's coaching folks....coaching. that's how college programs get built and sustained. If you don't believe that, just look at mens bball at MU and KU over the last 12 years....MU hired Quin Snyder and left Bill Self sit in the other hotel room. the rest, as they say, is history.

irvan moore 9 years, 6 months ago

i think we would have been better off paying Bonnie the bonus for going, not staying so long. the big problem for Zenger is the womens baskball coaches contract and the mens football coaches contract, don't forget, Gray Little signed off on this stuff with Lew so it should be her taking the heat, if Gill and Bonnie have simillar or close to it seasons like last year they need to be paid off and sent down the road. Self makes his money the old fashioned way, he earns it.

thunderjam 9 years, 6 months ago

KU athletics is spiraling out of control. Over paid coachs, poor performance on the field, no fans in the stands, and sub par facilities.

Mix this with an unstable conference and a new Athletic Director... we are in a lot of trouble. Wait and see.

focojayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

i have been waiting for this comment. logic is logic. this is all actually quite embarassing, aside from our basketball team.

Orangedog87 9 years, 6 months ago

The only thing worse than a government employee is a highly paid government employee who takes up space and produces nothing and gets many more chances to produce nothing than a private sector employee gets to actually produce.

Perkins as much of a joke as a lot of people in Washington DC

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 6 months ago

Bechard should have continued to recruit volley ball players from Brazil.

nnelson 9 years, 6 months ago

He did get a recent extension, but the latest contract we have for him, which is good through Dec. 31, 2012, can be found here:

Our entire list of contracts and salaries for coaches and administrators is here:

nnelson 9 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 6 months ago

There is a separate article with information on each coach. The copy of Bechard's contract (although in very small print) shows that it went into effect in January of this year.

Geekinout 9 years, 6 months ago

KSU beat KU 13-1 in overall sports last year. Throw out men's basketball and KU is the bottom of the barrel out of major D1 schools in sports right now. Someone's not doing their job very well and needs to be held accountable! It's sad and tough times being a Jayhawk these days... Wish I could have a job where I do well below average and make that kind of salary.

Geekinout 9 years, 6 months ago

Then again, who is the genius to hire a K-State alum as KU's A.D. Not saying he's a bad person or that he's incapable of doing a decent job, but it'd be nice to see KU hire from within once in awhile. That especially goes for the position of CHANCELLOR!

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

I seem to recall reading that he is also a KU alum, so he was hired within.

Geekinout 9 years, 6 months ago

You are correct.. Phd from KU. So even worse, Turncoat!

TheGiftedOne 9 years, 6 months ago

Ku athletics is as dirty as any program in America...time in time out we see scandal, contraversy, and no results. When is the overhaul going to happen? When are we as fans not going to take it anymore. WE pay their salaries. WE fill the stands. WE pay taxes and continue to struggle through a recession. I dont mean to sound Marxist but change is needed at KU athletics....ACROSS THE BOARD.

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 6 months ago

I think that Dr Zenger is clearly aware of the critical issues that he has to address (eg who to dismss, higher level performance amongst non revenue sports, facilities enhancement, Big XII survival, etc) and like giving a coach 3 to 5 years to turn things around in his or her particular sport, the same goes for him.

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 6 months ago

Further, I do not think that he will disappoint us.

kureader 9 years, 6 months ago

That's right. And, as the article suggests, we'll have to give him some time regardless, because his hands are tied for the next couple years ... especially for the bigger sports like football and women's basektball. It will be easy to criticise him for the next couple years, but not so easy to cough up the money to pay off coaches in the middle of their contract periods.

texashawk10 9 years, 6 months ago

Lew left Zenger very little wiggle room to get out of the bad contracts he granted right before he quit last year. I don't have a problem with the Gill hiring, but I do have two problems with his contract. $2 million was too much for his accomplishments, $1-1.3 million would've been more ideal and not including a buyout clause is just poor business practice regardless of the line of work. I also have no issue with extending the assistant coaches 2-3 years from now either because you have to have continuity on a coaching staff in order to build a solid program and that's what the football program has in place now. Bonnie's contract itself isn't a big issue, but the amount of the bonuses that Lew gave her were definitely excessive and should've been performance based rather than Perkins being too lazy to fire an ineffective coach and letting her receive a longevity bonus.

As for softball, I would like to know exactly when the 4 year extension was granted. If it was granted in the middle of the season when KU looked like they would make the NCAA tournament that's not a big issue, but the context makes sound like she was extended after the season based on the being pursued by another BCS school comment. If the latter is the case, I would've let her walk because going 5-19 in conference play is not worth getting into a bidding war with another school.

The other coach that needs to have a very long look at replacing is baseball coach Ritch Price. He has missed 3 of the last 5 Big 12 tournaments, hasn't won a Big 12 tournament game since 2006 and has only made 2 NCAA tournaments in his 9 years. Now that his kids have all moved through the program there is no reason to keep him around, but unfortunately he still has 3 years left on a contract that pays him $215,000 a year.

rockchalkjjjhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Other than one year, the on-field performance of KU athletics during Perkin's reign was dismal. You've got to give it to him though. -Come in from the east coast and suck as much money from the midwest country bumpkins as possible. Change seating prices and tell folks that more cash will be brought into the department. -Negotiate a contract that makes you huge dough and gives you tremendous perks. -Posture to get a national award for being the greatest AD in the land, all the while almost no sport raised it's AVERAGED ranking in the Big12 during that time. And the one revenue sport that was able to raise it's ranking quite a bit, on average, over that time apparently caused Lew heartburn. Enough so that the above-average talented head coach who was actually hired by someone else was put through a witch hunt. If one was looking in from the outside at the time, one might very well wonder just what Lew's agenda was. It's looks as if he sure made it a point to keep mediocre coaches on the payroll. And let's not forget that under his reign huge money from ticket sales wasn't finding it's way to the department to help it actually achieve better results. Thank goodness for Mangino and Self, who were already on the payroll when Lew arrived, as they already had the power they needed to at least attempt to combat the nonsense that was going on and try to put a winning product on the court/field.

Which brings up an interesting question. What exactly is Lew still doing in Lawrence? He's not from Lawrence. He didn't go to college at KU. But he's definitely living large. Sad because, whether he believes it or not, all of his assets came directly, one way or another, from the mostly local KU student, donator, or ticket payer.

Bob Forer 9 years, 6 months ago

I'd have to agree with you on Hemenway. He hung his hat on improving athletics and increasing our national ranking in academics. Despite his best efforts, we are left with the ashes of the Lew Perkins debacle, and a continued decline in our national academic rankings. He gets a D-, and barely.

DennisAnderson 9 years, 6 months ago

There have been a number of questions about coaches' contracts. You can see the details here:

ict_hwk 9 years, 6 months ago

Ok I looked over the earnings they make and I have to ask how Beaty makes more than Danny Manning? How is this possible?

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