New Men’s Basketball Coach Scott Nagy signed a contract for an income worth more than double that of former coach Billy Donlon.
According to Dayton Daily News, Nagy will be paid $500,000 a year compared to Donlon’s former salary of $225,000. WSU Athletics will also pay Donlon $225,000 as part of the separation agreement.
This increase comes within the wake of WSU’s budget crisis in which the university’s expenses fell $34 million over budget in 2016. The result is a budget cut of $27.7 million, which can be seen in the 2017 fiscal year funds budget.
WSU implemented staff cuts in response to the university’s overspending.
Despite the disparity between the two salaries, Director of Athletics Bob Grant said that Nagy’s salary with WSU is below the national average of Division 1 head coaches.
“The average division 1 men’s basketball coaching salary is $800,000 a year,” Grant said. “The Atlantic 10, who we compete against a lot in Men’s Basketball, for them the average is $900,000 the low in that league is $700,000. Missouri valley, another conference we compete against a lot, their average is over $1 million. Obviously, we’re not going to pay those kinds of numbers, so we look at what the top of the Horizon League is paying.”
Donlon’s salary didn’t match other head coach salaries in the league because Donlon had never held a head coach position until former men’s basketball coach Brad Brownwell left for WSU to coach at Clemson. With a departing salary of nearly $400,000, Brownwell was paid closer to Nagy than Donlon, and average salaries in the last six years, according to Grant, have increased.
According to Grant, paying a coach a salary similar to Donlon’s isn’t worth the money saved when a lack of interest in men’s basketball results in a decrease in revenue.
“Sure, financially you save some salary dollars, but when your season ticket sales drop, when your sponsorships drop, when your donations drop, that’s no good,” Grant said. “Those things have dropped and that is a direct result of Men’s Basketball not achieving at a high level, which is very difficult to do, but we need them to achieve at a high level to make those things grow, not shrink. It doesn’t make sense fiscally to continue down that path. So, you make a change, you hire someone who is going where you want to go.”
Grant believes that Nagy’s recent record will generate more revenue and interest in WSU men’s basketball.
“If you look at someone like Scott Nagy, 21 years as a head coach, the last five seasons he has been to three NCAA tournaments and an NIT. So he got [South Dakota State] to where we want to go. When you look at his profile and what it takes to hire someone like that, that’s where the $500,000 comes in. I really look at it as an investment.”
To make up for the money lost with Donlon’s separation contract, WSU Athletics and Nagy agreed to play three guarantee games earning the department $235,000 total.