Most Iowa assistant football coaches get pay raises even after mandatory pay cuts factored in
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa's assistant football coaches have been given their annual pay raises, but the additional salary will largely be eaten up by the athletic department's mandated cutbacks.
Iowa is paying out $5.27 million in base salaries to its assistant football coaches this school year, an increase of $575,000 from a year ago, in addition to the $1.1 million given to former strength coach Chris Doyle as part of a separation agreement this summer.
That is according to data provided to the Des Moines Register under an open records request. The 10 on-field coaches who assist Kirk Ferentz all received raises ranging from $40,000 to $90,000 after the Hawkeyes went 10-3 a year ago.
But, under a previously announced reduction in pay, those coaches will be giving up $527,000 of their salaries as the Iowa athletic department tries to dig itself out of an anticipated financial hole.
That means most of the assistant football coaches are set to make slightly more in Fiscal Year 2021 than they did last year. For example, Jay Niemann, the newest assistant coach, received a 17.2% increase in his salary to $340,000, before the 10% will be reducted, making his actual raise $16,000 instead of the listed $50,000.
Interim football strength and conditioning coach Raimond Braithwaite is being paid $310,000, which is 62% less than the $800,000 salary Doyle was receiving as college football’s top-paid strength coach. That’s an indication that either Iowa is going to hire a permanent replacement for Doyle at a higher salary, or Ferentz is going to devote much less money to that position on his staff going forward.
Doyle’s contract was bought out after numerous former Hawkeye players accused him of racially insensitive behavior during his two-decade tenure on the Iowa staff.
Defensive coordinator Phil Parker remains Ferentz’s highest-paid assistant, with a $90,000 raise to $890,000. Ferentz’s son, Brian, the offensive coordinator, got a $75,000 bump to put his base salary at $860,000. Brian Ferentz was also singled out by some former players this summer for verbally abusive behavior.
The raises for the assistant coaches are business as usual for the Iowa program. But this is far from a usual summer for Big Ten Conference college football teams. The league has canceled the fall season with the hope of playing in the winter or spring, citing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta announced June 30 that there would be pay reductions throughout his department as a cost-savings measure. Those included 10% salary cuts for anyone earning $200,000 or more, as each of Iowa’s assistant football coaches do. Coaches also had the option of giving up more salary if they chose.
Barta revealed Aug. 21 that he was cutting the men's gymnastics and tennis teams, as well as men's and women's swimming and diving, after this academic year in an effort to save $5 million annually.
Here are the football coaches’ base salaries, listed alphabetically:
Kelvin Bell, defensive line
FY2020 salary: $375,000
FY2021 salary: $425,000
Increase: $50,000 (13.3%)
Raimond Braithwaite, interim strength coach
FY2021 salary: $310,000 (Chris Doyle was making $800,000 in that permanent role)
Kelton Copeland, wide receivers
FY2020 salary: $300,000
FY 2021 salary: $340,000
Increase: $40,000 (13.3%)
Brian Ferentz, offensive coordinator/tight ends
FY2020 salary: $775,000
FY2021 salary: $860,000
Increase: $85,000 (11%)
Derrick Foster, running backs/offensive recruiting coordinator
FY2020 salary: $250,000
FY2021 salary: $290,000
Increase: $40,000 (16%)
Jay Niemann, assistant defensive line/defensive recruiting coordinator
FY2020 salary: $290,000 (including $10,000 in relocation expenses)
FY2021 salary: $340,000
Increase: $50,000 (17.2%)
Ken O’Keefe, quarterbacks
FY2020 salary: $625,000
FY2021 salary: $685,000
Increase: $60,000 (9.6%)
Phil Parker, defensive coordinator/defensive backs
FY2020 salary: $800,000
FY2021 salary: $890,000
Increase: $90,000 (11.3%)
Tim Polasek, offensive line
FY2020 salary: $390,000
FY2021 salary: $440,000
Increase: $50,000 (12.8%)
Seth Wallace, linebackers/assistant defensive coordinator
FY2020 salary: $500,000
FY2021 salary: $560,000
Increase: $60,000 (12%)
LeVar Woods, special teams coordinator
FY2020 salary: $385,000
FY2021 salary: $440,000
Increase: $55,000 (14.3%)
Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.
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