Q: My question for you is how is the head coach’s salary funded? Is it through state funds or by private donations to the athletic department? My wife and I were discussing this since whenever a coach is hired/fired, a reporter brings up the fact that the head football coach is the highest paid employee of the state.
A: Technically, anything the UW athletic department does involves state funds since it’s a state institution. The athletic department raises money in a variety of different ways, and gets a lot of private donations. But once raised, it’s all pooled, and once the money goes to the department it becomes public money. The department uses that pool of money to pay its coaches contracts. So it is accurate to say that the salaries are all paid for by public money. Tyrone Willingham’s salary came in a variety of ways, as you can see if you read through all of his contract (available here). His base salary is $425,000. But he also received $275,000 for fulfilling media commitments, money which came in part from the school’s radio and TV contracts. He also received $275,000 from NIKE for fulfilling various commitments with that company. He also gets $204,000 for speaking engagements and a $100,000 housing allowance, and $100,000 in deferred compensation. Hopefully that answers your question.
Q: Why don’t they play any of the young offensive linemen? Seems like we’re being set up to have to start over next year with four seniors on the O-line?
A: Actually, there are only two seniors starting now — center Juan Garcia and guard Jordan White-Frisbee with guard Casey Bulyca out for the year with a knee injury. Returning next year wiil be both tackles, Ben Ossai and Cody Habben, and guard Ryan Tolar. So the Huskies will have to replace Garcia and White-Frisbee of current starters. I asked O-line coach Mike Denbrock this week about playing more of the younger players. He said the number one objective of the season is still to win as many games as possible, especially for the seniors. But he also said that one reason he hadn’t played more of the younger players is that there is still a significant difference between the starters and the second-unit players. He said right tackle Skyler Fancher and center/guard Matt Sedillo are the closest to earning playing time, but so far, he hasn’t seen fit to put them in when the game has been on the line. Sedillo will be in line to replace Garcia next season and Morgan Rosborough is currently the backup to White-Frisbee. But who knows how the new staff will look at things.
Q: I wish you’d report more on the coaching search since that seems like all anyone cares about right now.
A: I’ll try to do my best. For one thing, however, keep in mind that there is very little real news on the search right now other than a lot of rumors and speculation about who might be available and who UW might be interested in. We’ve presented a lot of that here and on SeattleTimes.com and will continue. But in terms of real news — they’ve talked with this guy, etc. — there hasn’t really been any of that yet. As I passed along last week, Scott Woodward basically said none of the heavy lifting on the search will start until the regular season is over as anyone who is currently employed won’t do anything until then. So if they want, say, Mike Leach, they’re going to have to wait a while.
Also, as I passed along then, there is not going to be any confirmation of candidates from UW, or much of any real info coming from the school as it wants to keep the search as secretive as possible. And I think the speculation stuff is only responsible to a point. I’ve gotten maybe three e-mails this week asking me about Lou Holtz. No offense to those who asked, but I see no way that Lou Holtz is going to be the next coach at UW, so I don’t really feel it’s even worth discussing, since even bringing his name up could then lead to people saying “Hey, I saw speculation about Lou Holtz on the Seattle Times?” To me, what’s really meaningful is discussing who might really be in the running for the job not just throwing out every name of every available coach. But obviously it’s a hugely important decision for this school, as important as any hire ever made. So I’ll definitely increase the focus here to the coach search as the season winds down.
All for now.
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