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Not a bad week for new WSU coach

Sat., Feb. 9, 2008

PULLMAN – It’s been a week of presents for Washington State head football coach Paul Wulff. He got two-dozen recruit signees. He met with deep-pocketed donors in Spokane.

And the university finalized his $600,000 contract.

That’s guaranteed income per year. There’s plenty more in incentives and the little perks one gets as the Cougars football coach.

Wulff’s five-year contract – signed Monday by WSU President Elson Floyd and obtained by The Spokesman-Review through a public records request – breaks it down: $200,000 base salary, $50,000 in deferred payment and $350,000 in collateral.

“Basically, that’s his radio show money,” football spokesman Bill Stevens said of the collateral. “It’s not part of his base salary, but it is guaranteed compensation.”

The weekly radio show at Pullman’s Hilltop Restaurant is not explicitly listed among his duties in his contract – those are described in more general terms.

Depending on how well Wulff does his new job – the university announced Dec. 11 that he would replace former coach Bill Doba – he can get more money.

Wulff’s incentives include:

“$10,000 if his team’s average GPA is 2.65 or higher after the fall semester (or 2.80 after spring).

“$25,000 if he is named Pac-10 coach of the year.

“$50,000 if he receives national recognition as coach of the year.

“$25,000 if the Cougars make it to a non-BCS bowl game.

“$75,000 if WSU is in a BCS bowl game, or the Rose Bowl.

“$50,000 if he leads his team to a first-place finish in the Pac-10.

“$25,000 if the Cougars finish the season ranked 11th through 25th in the Associated Press poll.

“$50,000 if they finish ranked 10th through second.

“$100,000 if Washington State wins the national championship.

If Wulff takes the Cougars by storm and completes the perfect season – plus receiving the $3,600-per-year stipend for his car – he could rake in $923,600 his first year as head coach.

In contrast, Pete Carroll makes an estimated $2 million to $3 million salary at USC, as reported in The Arizona Republic. Tyrone Willingham, across the state at Washington, gets paid at least $1.43 million a year. Doba got a guaranteed $500,000 per year.

Plus, Wulff will automatically be a member of the Palouse Ridge Country Club – once it’s finished. He might be thankful for that, since he is not entitled to annual leave and must get vacation time approved by Athletics Director Jim Sterk.

Under the contract, Sterk will annually review Wulff’s job performance and “the expectation is that this contract will be extended in one-year increments at the time of the Employee’s evaluation.” Doba’s contact didn’t presume a one-year extension each year.

The university can terminate Wulff’s contract for a number of reasons. If he seriously and deliberately violates portions of his contract – he must behave ethically, honestly and in good faith – he could get canned. Or if his assistant coaches or student-athletes break the rules and Wulff knows about it.

His team’s win-loss record doesn’t factor in, the contract states – unless the university decides to terminate his contract “without cause.” In such a case, WSU would have to continue to pay Wulff in full until 2010 if he were let go before then, or for an extra year if he were let go after Jan. 1, 2010.

Wulff could also quit and have to pay WSU $350,000, unless he leaves for a less lucrative and non-coaching job. While WSU’s coach, he can’t seek or negotiate any other NCAA football coaching job unless Sterk approves it.

Wulff took the reins after jumping up to the Pac-10 from his head-coaching job at Eastern Washington where he had a base salary of $103,000. Spring football begins in March and his team will start practicing in August.

Then comes the season, when he can give out 24 tickets to each home game, plus four press-box passes and six sideline passes. He’ll have four tickets and sideline passes to away games.

And he’ll be able to fly there first class. WSU does that, too.


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