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Coaches contracts not affected by WVU pay freeze

A pay freeze at West Virginia University next year won't affect salary increases in store for many of the school's athletic coaches.

Football Coach Dana Holgorsen is set to draw at least $500,000 more next year, and at least $50,000 more is in line for men's basketball Coach Bob Huggins.

"The increases, if any, are built in to those contracts," said Mike Parsons, deputy director of athletics. "We will honor those increases."

Most of the other head coaches at the university also will receive raises called for in their contracts. Parsons said they're typically less than $10,000.

During its June meeting the WVU board of governors called for both an employee pay freeze and student tuition increases.

Narvel Weese, WVU's vice president of administration and finance, said the decisions were necessary because of state budget cuts.  

The university expects the pay freeze, as well as general cuts, to result in savings of about $10.3 million. The tuition increase is expected to bring in an additional $19.6 million, or more.

The athletic department operates from a different budget, Parsons said. It's still technically state money, but he said it comes mostly from sources other than the Legislature.

"The money we used to pay our salaries . . . is self-generated money," Parsons said. "That funds our budgets. We're not getting money appropriated from the state."

The athletic department does receive $100,000 for the rifle team.

That pales in comparison to entire department budget, which Parsons expects to come in between $60 and $65 million for the 2014 fiscal year.

Football and basketball account for a significant portion of that self-generated money, Parsons said. The fund includes ticket sales, sponsorships, media contracts and other money-making agreements.

Both Holgorsen and Huggins signed new contracts in 2012. Although Holgorsen's total annual compensation was $2.3 million initially, that bumped up to $2.5 million on Jan. 1 of this year.

On Jan. 1 of next year, his total compensation is set to go up by another $200,000.

His contract calls for several other potential payments in the next year. Depending on the athletic and academic performance of his team, Holgorsen can earn up to $600,000 in incentives. Last year he earned $120,000 in incentives, Parsons said.

A fat "retention payment" is in store for Holgorsen on March 1, 2014. He's set to receive a $300,000 check that day if he's still in his position.  

His assistant coaches are also in line for some extra green. Holgorsen's contract gives him a $2.6 million "assistant coach budget." That increases by at least 3 percent per year and more if the Mountaineers make it to a bowl game. WVU made it to the Pinstripe Bowl this past season so Holgorsen's assistant coach budget will go up 5 percent this year. WVU lost to Syracuse in the bowl, but that didn't affect the increase.

The contract also allows the athletic director to increase the budget. Parsons said he thought the budget would go up 5 percent but said that was not guaranteed. The contract language says the budget "shall increase not less than" 5 percent following a season with a bowl trip.

On July 1, Huggins' total annual compensation increases from $2.75 million to $2.85 million.

His 11-year contract is structured so that $350,000 of that is deferred until the eighth year of the contract. Parsons said the deferment is for tax or retirement purposes.

Huggins earned $50,000 in incentives last year. As with any contractual incentives, that amount will increase if the team performs better this season.

Apart from the coaches, Athletic Director Oliver Luck is the only department employee hired under a multi-year contract, Parsons said. He said he believes this means salaries for the other department employees are affected by the pay freeze.

He said he couldn't rule out the chance that some athletic department employees could get raises during the next budget year.

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or Follow him at



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