News that UALR was going to lose its first-year basketball coaching phenom Chris Beard to UNLV got me thinking about the potential ups and downs of coaching changes.
Phenoms sometimes turn out less than phenomenal in new settings. So Beard, who made $230,000 before a recently offered and undisclosed pay raise for his phenomenal first season, hasn’t yet proved the worth of a five-year contract in Nevada that could produce a million a year, if amounts offered other candidates are any indication.
I thought of this because I’d recently taken a look at the most recent tax filing by the Razorback Foundation, which receives the benefit of premium seat sales at football and other UA sporting events and uses that money, plus other contributions, both to supplement pay of current coaches but to make continuing payments to former coaches.
The most recent form, for tax year 2013, was filed in February 2015. At that time, The Foundation reported about $45 million in assets after taking in about $27 million and spending about $24 million.
And what was that money spent on? In addition to supplements for current coaches, payments included $400,00 to former basketball coach John Pelphrey for his contract buyout; $300,000 to 2012 football coach John Smith for “speaking engagements,” and $415,926 to former Athletic Director Frank Broyles, also for speaking engagements. When your basketball coach is successful and hired away, at least it doesn’t incur ongoing obligations as a firing does.
Also in the five highest independent contractors are current basketball coach, Mike Anderson ($700,000), and football coach Bret Bielema ($357,346). Those figures have changed since.