Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger has entered the school year with a new and improved contract, the Journal-World learned Wednesday.
Zenger, who took over at Kansas in February of 2011 as the replacement for Lew Perkins, made $450,000 annually during the first two years of his initial five-year contract, but has received a 33 percent raise to an annual salary of $600,000. The new contract also extends Zenger’s agreement through June 30, 2018.
The increase brings Zenger’s salary into the middle of the pack of 10 Big 12 athletic directors and is $116,000 less than the average salary of the conference’s ADs, according to numbers obtained and reported by ESPN.com.
Zenger now makes more, just in base annual salary, than the athletic directors at Baylor, Kansas State and Texas Tech and less than his counterparts at Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, TCU and West Virginia. The report indicated that Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder also makes $600,000 per year.
According to a spokesperson from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s office, two-thirds of Zenger’s salary is funded by private, non-taxpayer, non-tuition funds, and the remaining $200,000 is paid by the state because Zenger is a state employee.
Last year’s salary was split $194,011 from state funds and $255,989 in private funds.
The raise and extension come on the heels of one of the most successful department-wide stints KU has had in recent memory. During Zenger’s first two years in charge, the women’s track team won a national championship last spring, and the men’s basketball team won its eighth and ninth consecutive Big 12 titles and played for a national championship. In addition, the women’s basketball team made back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances, and the volleyball and soccer teams are coming off NCAA Tournament appearances as well.
Zenger inherited tumultuous times with conference realignment and a ticket scandal that drew national attention.
He also led a coaching search that landed football coach Charlie Weis, who kicks off his second leg of a five-year, $12.5 million contract at 6 p.m. Saturday against South Dakota at Memorial Stadium.