Majority of assistant Iowa football coaches receive raises despite athletic department pay cuts

Iowa is paying out $5.27 million in base salaries to assistant coaches this fiscal year, an increase of $575,000 compared to last year.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley talks with offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies 33-7.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa’s assistant football coaches have received their annual pay raises, and despite pay cuts around the athletic department because of financial shortfalls caused by COVID-19, many of them will make more this year than they did a year ago.

As first reported by the Des Moines Register, Iowa is paying out $5.27 million in base salaries to its assistant football coaches this fiscal year, an increase of $575,000 compared to last year. That base figure does not account for the $1.1 million given to former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who reached a separation agreement with the University of Iowa on June 15 after several former players accused him of racism and mistreatment.

Iowa’s 10 on-field assistant coaches all received raises ranging from $40,000 to $90,000. Factoring in a previously announced pay reduction, those coaches will give up $527,000 of their salaries due to the athletic department’s financial situation.

Interim football strength and conditioning coach Raimond Braithwaite is being paid a salary of $310,000, less than the $800,000 Doyle received last year as the highest-paid strength coach in college football.

Defensive coordinator Phil Parker received a $90,000 raise, increasing his salary to $890,000. Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s son and Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz saw a pay bump of $75,000, increasing his salary to $860,000.

The pay raises are usual for Iowa, but his year has been anything but usual. The Big Ten announced Aug. 11 that all fall sports in the conference were postponed because of ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. Leading up to that decision, on June 30, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta announced approximately $15 million in athletic department reductions for the 2021 fiscal year. At the time, that plan assumed full football and men’s basketball seasons would be played with fans in attendance. Included in that were 10 percent salary cuts for any athletic department employees earning $200,000 or more.

Iowa’s top-earning head coaches Lisa Bluder, Tom Brands, Kirk Ferentz, and Fran McCaffery all voluntarily agreed to a one-year, 15-percent base salary reduction or contribution back to the athletic department. Deputy Athletics Director Barbara Burke agreed to a 25-percent salary reduction, while Barta reduced his total compensation package by more than 30 percent.

Ferentz made $4.8 million in 2019.

After the Big Ten’s decision to postpone, Barta announced that Iowa was anticipating $100 million in lost revenue and would be facing a deficit of $60-75 million.

On Aug. 21, Barta and UI President Bruce Harreld announced in an open letter that Iowa would discontinue four sports at the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year — men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s tennis and gymnastics — because of financial shortfalls.

“We carefully and thoroughly reviewed all financial options and each of our programs individually. We considered, in part, sponsorship at the NCAA Division I level, impact on gender equity and Title IX compliance, expense savings, history of the sport at Iowa, engagement level, and other factors,” the letter states. “With the recent postponement of fall sports and immediate financial impact due to this decision, we believe this path is necessary to strengthen athletics and position our programs for future success with the resources we have.”

Barta said on a video conference Aug. 24 that cutting these sports will save the department “north of $5 million” a year. The athletic department is working toward securing a $75 million loan, Barta said, though the cuts to the four sports are final.

All 10 of Iowa’s on-field assistant football coaches will still receive a raise despite the department’s pay reductions.

Their base salaries are listed, alphabetically, below, as first reported by the Register.

Kelvin Bell, defensive line

FY2020 salary: $375,000

FY2021 salary: $425,000

Raise: $50,000

Kelton Copeland, wide receivers

FY2020 salary: $300,000

FY 2021 salary: $340,000

Raise: $40,000

Brian Ferentz, offensive coordinator/tight ends

FY2020 salary: $785,000

FY2021 salary: $860,000

Raise: $75,000

Derrick Foster, running backs/offensive recruiting coordinator

FY2020 salary: $250,000

FY2021 salary: $290,000

Raise: $40,000

Jay Niemann, assistant defensive line/defensive recruiting coordinator

FY2020 salary: $290,000

FY2021 salary: $340,000

Raise: $50,000

Ken O’Keefe, quarterbacks

FY2020 salary: $625,000

FY2021 salary: $685,000

Raise: $60,000

Phil Parker, defensive coordinator/defensive backs

FY2020 salary: $800,000

FY2021 salary: $890,000

Raise: $90,000

Tim Polasek, offensive line

FY2020 salary: $390,000

FY2021 salary: $440,000

Raise: $50,000

Seth Wallace, linebackers/assistant defensive coordinator

FY2020 salary: $500,000

FY2021 salary: $560,000

Raise: $60,000

LeVar Woods, special teams coordinator

FY2020 salary: $385,000

FY2021 salary: $440,000

Raise: $55,000

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