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Bonuses Totaling $343k Paid to 32 Athletics Staffers Last Year

By Martin Salazar
Copyright 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer
    Remember Ritchie McKay— the Lobo men's basketball coach invited to hit the road last year with the team on the ropes and the program in the doldrums?
    UNM gave him a $35,000 performance bonus two months after he was fired at the end of a dismal season.
    Paul Krebs, UNM's vice president for athletics, said McKay was owed the bonus under a "vague" incentive pay clause in McKay's contract— which was executed before Krebs was hired.
    The payment to McKay was part of over $343,000 in bonuses to athletics administrators, coaches and other staffers during the 2007 calendar year.
    Head football coach Rocky Long walked away with the biggest bonus amount— $58,310. That's in addition to his base salary of $204,500.
    McKay's bonus was the second-largest.
    In all, 32 current and former athletics department employees took home bonuses in 2007, ranging from a high of $58,000 to a low of $1,000, according to a report released to the Journal in response to a public records request.
    No UNM employee outside athletics got a bonus in 2007, said Helen Gonzales, vice president for human resources. She said athletics is the only department at the university that has a bonus program.
    Krebs said most staff members receiving bonuses had bonus clauses in their contracts.
    "It's industry standard (for college athletics) that you ... have a bonus structure for rewarding outstanding performance— be it academic, athletic, attendance," Krebs said. "It is very common practice."
    Krebs was number three on the bonus list at $23,000, on top of his base salary of $241,875.
    Krebs said the premise of UNM's bonus program is that if a team wins a championship or goes to a bowl game, its coaches get a bonus equal to one month's salary. He said some coaches have additional bonuses built into their contracts for such things as making the Final Four or Sweet 16.
    Other factors such as team members' academic performance and attendance can also be built into the bonus structure, he said.
    "You're rewarding championships or exemplary performance," Krebs said.
    Because the figures represent bonuses paid during calendar year 2007, some of the amounts reflect bonuses earned during the previous fiscal year.
    For example, Krebs said, the football bonuses represent incentives paid for the Lobos making it to both the 2006 and the 2007 bowl games.
    Krebs said the bonus payments didn't have a significant impact on his department's budget. The athletics department had a $288,000 deficit on June 30, 2007, the end of the last fiscal year.
    Of the $343,000 paid for bonuses, all of the football bonuses— nearly $199,000— were covered by money generated by the Lobos' bowl appearance, Krebs said.
    He said the Mountain West Conference paid UNM about $450,000 to appear in the 2007 New Mexico Bowl. The money is used to offset bowl expenses, such as the bonuses.
    Krebs said part of his bonus was also paid out of the bowl budget.
    "Any of those bonuses associated with football, that's all part of the bowl budget. So that was no additional money for us," Krebs said.
    "What you're talking about after that are relatively small numbers, and they're a result of teams having exemplary success," he said. "And I view that as a good situation to be in. When you've got teams that are winning championships and you're paying bonuses, that means that you're winning, and presumably there are additional income streams associated with winning, whether it's additional tickets being sold, merchandise being sold (or) concessions."
    Although bonuses are paid throughout the year as coaches reach certain goals, pay raises are generally awarded in June and July, when the university begins a new fiscal year.
    Most of the bonus earners got pay raises of 4 percent or 5 percent last summer. Krebs said athletics staffers who received raises in that range were doing a good job.
    Underperforming employees may have gotten less, while those with exemplary performance may have gotten more, he added.
    Only four of the bonus earners got a raise greater than 5 percent: Krebs was given a 7.5 percent raise; men's soccer coach Jeremy Fishbein got a 7.2 percent raise; women's basketball coach Don Flanagan got nearly 6.3 percent; and his top assistant, Yvonne Sanchez, earned a 7 percent pay raise.
Paychecks through 2010
    McKay earned an annual salary of about $194,000 in addition to other compensation as UNM's head men's basketball coach.
    UNM has agreed to pay him $581,688 in salary through 2010 under a settlement agreement that hastened his departure.
    During McKay's last season at UNM, the Lobos tied for last place in the Mountain West Conference.
    During his tenure, attendance fell at the Pit. The NCAA, meanwhile, has since stripped the team of a scholarship as a penalty for the team's dismal Academic Progress Rate during the past four years under McKay.
    The bonus paid to McKay on April 24 was owed under a contract executed before Krebs took over athletics at UNM.
    "That bonus was based upon factors unrelated to the wins and losses," Krebs said.
    McKay's contract stipulated that he was entitled to a bonus based on a number of factors, including enforcing the athletics department's policy of supporting student-athletes' academic performance and establishing and enforcing standards of social conduct for student athletes and coaches.
    "That bonus (formula) was arguably vague, and too vague in my opinion," Krebs said. He said future contracts would have clear-cut standards for coaches to meet in order to qualify for a bonus.
    "They'll be much more quantifiable, pretty black-and-white," he said. "You either hit a milestone or you don't."

2007 UNM athletics bonuses
Administration total: $25,000
Paul Krebs, athletics vice president: $23,000 Tim Cass, associate athletics director: $2,000
Football total: $198,916
Rocky Long, head coach: $58,310 Osia Lewis, defensive coordinator: $18,712
Gavin Bevis, associate AD: $14,181 Troy Reffett, assistant coach: $13,257
Todd Throckmorton, assistant coach: $12,333 Daniel Gonzales, assistant coach: $11,672
Charles David Baldwin, offensive coordinator: $10,833 Everett Todd, defensive line: $8,830
Daniel Dodd, former assistant coach: $8,695 Matthew Wells, assistant coach: $7,800
Albert Preston, assistant coach: $6,667 Robert Stanley, former assistant coach: $6,667
Cornell Jackson, former assistant coach: $6,453 Leonard Rodriguez, former assistant coach: $6,439
Jason Lenzmeier, assistant coach: $6,067 Jason Strauss, video coordinator: $2,000
Men's basketball total: $35,000
Ritchie McKay, former head coach: $35,000
Women's basketball total: $30,582
Donald Flanagan, head coach: $16,469 Yvonne Sanchez, associate coach: $6,587
David Shoemate, assistant coach: $4,359 Shane Flanagan, assistant coach: $3,167
Men's soccer total: $30,208
Jeremy Fishbein, head coach: $17,000 Carl Junot, assistant coach: $7,208
Lucas Cisna, former assistant coach: $3,333 Christopher Cartlidge, assistant coach: $2,667
Men's golf total: $5,000
Glen Millican, head coach: $5,000
Women's golf total: $2,000
Jackie Booth, former head coach: $2,000
Others total $16,377:
Martin Binder, head athletic trainer: $10,377 Mark Paulsen, strength & conditioning coach: $5,000
Joaquin Chavez, assistant coach/conditioning: $1,000
Grand total: $343,084
-- Source: UNM Human Resources Department