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Mountaineer football salaries raising by $475,000

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West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen is set to earn an additional $250,000 in raises this year. The school will pay its coaching staff $475,000 more this year than last, when the team finished 7-6 in its first season in the Big 12 Conference.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- If at first you don't succeed, well, spend a little more money and try, try again.

That seems to be the philosophy of West Virginia's athletic department where the school's football coaching staff is concerned.

In the aftermath of a disappointing 7-6 first season in the Big 12, West Virginia will pay its coaching staff $475,000 more in 2013 than it did in 2012.

More than half of that, $250,000, is automatic raises built into the contract head coach Dana Holgorsen signed in August. The other $225,000 is a combination of raises given to two current assistants and an increase in the salaries paid to three new assistant coaches over their predecessors.

Even with the raises, however, West Virginia's coaching salaries are not out of line with the norm at Bowl Championship Series-level programs. In fact, the school might be paying a bit below average.

According to documents obtained by The Charleston Gazette through Freedom of Information Act requests, the salaries of offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh will go from $250,000 last year to $300,000 in 2013. Both were given $50,000 raises that were approved on Jan. 10 and will go into effect today.

The other $125,000 in extra money going to assistants comes in the contracts of new coaches Lonnie Galloway, Tony Gibson and Brian Mitchell. Galloway will make $300,000 as the receivers coach, Gibson $250,000 to coach safeties and Mitchell $225,000 to coach cornerbacks. That's a total of $775,000.

Those three replaced - although not in the same positions - Daron Roberts, Steve Dunlap and Jake Spavital. Roberts and Dunlap were fired and Spavital took a job as the quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M. Dunlap was making $250,000 and Roberts and Spavital $200,000 each. That's a total of $650,000.

All of those figures are base pay and do not include standard incentives included in each of the coaches' contracts. Each of the assistant coaches last season made an extra $10,000 when the team qualified for a non-BCS bowl. None of their other incentives (for wins or BCS appearances/wins) were met.

The school is also on the hook for $200,000 owed to Roberts after he was fired following the regular season. His contract ran through the 2013 season, so he is owed that year's pay. The school is also paying Dunlap through June 30, when his contract was set to expire, but apparently he is still working in a non-coaching capacity and could be re-hired within the athletic department.

As for Holgorsen's $250,000 raise, that is written into his contract. He made $2.3 million in salary and supplemental income last season and also earned a retention bonus of $75,000 just by being employed on Dec. 8, 2012. That's a total of $2.375 million, not including his incentives.

In 2013, Holgorsen's base pay and supplemental income increases to $2.5 million. He will again receive a $75,000 retention bonus if he is still on the job on Dec. 8, 2013 - that's after a $50,000 retention bonus owed him a month from now. All told, that's $2.625 million.

None of West Virginia's other assistant coaches are currently receiving raises this year, but five - Dawson, Bedenbaugh, running backs coach Robert Gillespie, defensive line coach Erik Slaughter and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson - signed new contracts on Dec. 7 - just after the end of the regular season - and retroactive to various prior dates. Some included raises.

Dawson, Bedenbaugh and Gillespie signed contracts on Dec. 7 in which the terms each began July 1, 2012. Dawson's and Bedenbaugh's included $250,000 salaries and Gillespie's was $300,000. Dawson and Bedenbaugh were then bumped to $300,000 a month later.

Slaughter's Dec. 7 contract says his term began Feb. 27, 2012, which was the date he was formally hired. Patterson's predates to Feb. 22, the date he was hired. Slaughter's is for $200,000 and Patterson's for $350,000.

There is no mention in Patterson's Dec. 7 contract update of any change in job title and his pay remains the same as when he was hired. At about that time, however, Holgorsen gave him control of the team's defense in place of Joe DeForest. The two held - and apparently still hold, at least contractually - titles as defensive co-coordinators.

Oddly, though, university records turned over to the Gazette do not include a formal contract for DeForest. That doesn't mean he isn't employed, because the offer sheet he signed when he was hired Jan. 12, 2012 serves as a contract. In that offer sheet, DeForest was to make $500,000 as the defensive co-coordinator and presumably he still does, despite what amounts to a demotion.

The lengths of the assistant coaches' contracts also vary. Gillespie, Patterson, DeForest and the three newly hired assistants all are under contract for the next two seasons. The current contracts of Dawson, Bedenbaugh and Slaughter expire after the 2013 season.

Under the new contracts, DeForest remains the highest-paid assistant coach at $500,000 per year, followed by Patterson at $350,000, Dawson, Bedenbaugh, Gillespie and Galloway at $300,000 each, Gibson at $250,000, Mitchell at $225,000 and Slaughter at $200,000.

That's a total of $2.725 million for nine assistant coaches ($100,000 more than Holgorsen alone) and a total of $5.35 million for the entire coaching staff. Last season the total figure was $4.875 million.

Those figures do not include the incentive bonuses earned. In addition to the assistants receiving the $10,000 bowl bonus, Holgorsen appears to have reached at least three of his bonuses for 2012 - ticket sales of 38,000 ($50,000), a non-BCS bowl appearance ($25,000) and an NCAA academic progress rate score of at least 950 ($20,000). That's an additional $95,000.

Again, though, none of that is out of line with similar institutions, particularly after the school's move to the Big 12 Conference.

For instance, Holgorsen's salary last season, according to a USA Today survey of coaching pay across the country, was 31st out of 112 FBS coaches whose salaries are public record. That's well above the average, but it ranks only sixth in the 10-team Big 12 behind Mack Brown at Texas, Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, Gary Patterson at TCU, Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State and Charlie Weis at Kansas. It was not significantly ahead of the seventh-place coach in terms of pay, former Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville. Holgorsen's raise this year won't significantly affect the rankings, either.

As for the assistant coaches, that pay, too, is among the tops in the country, ranking No. 22 overall according to the USA Today survey. But it is only fourth in the Big 12 (behind Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) and not significantly higher than the seventh-place school in the league.

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1


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