A check of the IRS 990 form filed by the Kansas University athletic department and made public on its website revealed that women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson was listed as having a “base compensation” of $1,834,008 in 2009.
A retention bonus accounted for $1,288,286.45 of that guaranteed to her based on her first contract for remaining employed through April 15, 2009, according to Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony.
Henrickson’s retention agreement, signed when she took the job March 29, 2004, spelled out that unless terminated with cause, the coach would be entitled to a bonus, after taxes, of $150,000 for each year employed. The 2008-2009 season was her fifth at KU, which added up to $750,000, after taxes or $1,288,286.45 before taxes.
The estimated breakdown, supplied by Marchiony, of the before-taxes, $1.8-million-plus the athletic department spent on its women’s basketball coach in 2009:
That leaves roughly $24,000 accounted for through taxable benefits such as a courtesy car, country club membership, game tickets, etc.
Henrickson’s gold mine came in the same year former Athletic Director Lew Perkins’ base compensation reported to the IRS was $4,485,275, including a before-taxes retention bonus of $3 million. While reports of Perkins’ big bonanza caused a stir, Henrickson’s never was reported by news organizations.
The one-year balloon made for an atypical financial year for the women’s basketball coach who came to KU after a successful run at Virginia Tech. For example, in the previous year, her base compensation was reported to the IRS as $520,538.
Henrickson received another retention bonus in 2011, amounting to $300,000 after taxes.
Henrickson has not taken her team to the NCAA Tournament in seven seasons as head coach, never has finished higher than tied for seventh in the Big 12 and never has posted a conference record better than 6-10. She is signed through the 2013-14 season and is entering the first year of a three-year extension that Perkins tacked onto her deal. This one, Henrickson said, does not include a retention bonus. That means the best estimate as to the remaining Henrickson compensation for which the athletic department is responsible amounts to slightly more than $1.5 million.
Henrickson said she does not feel the pressure of trying to live up to a lucrative contract.
“I put pressure on myself,” Henrickson said. “It’s not about living up to anything. It wouldn’t matter if they paid me a nickel. That’s not what motivates me. What motivates me year after year is to try to get these young kids to experience what I have experienced (at Virginia Tech) in the tournament. That’s where I feel an obligation to our young women and our fans.”