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U of M gives men’s basketball coach Pitino $400,000 raise

MinnPost photo by Jana Freiband
Coach Richard Pitino

Losing even more points for really bad timing. For the AP Dave Campbell reports, “Minnesota has finalized a two-year contract extension for coach Richard Pitino through the 2020-21 season, including a $400,000 raise.  The university released the details Tuesday, months after the terms were agreed to while Norwood Teague was the athletic director. Pitino, who finished his second year as coach of the Gophers, will now make $1.6 million annually. His $500,000 base salary stayed the same; his supplemental compensation was bumped up from $700,000 to $1.1 million. Pitino is still well within in the bottom half of the Big Ten, in terms of money being made by the men’s basketball coaches in the conference.”

That conference on prescription drug abuse and related problems got underway yesterday. Dave Chanen of the Strib writes, “Reflecting the level of interest in addictive opioids and the intensity of the problem they have created, registration for “The Pain. Pill. Problem” conference ballooned so quickly that it had to be moved from a smaller venue to Northrop Auditorium. Among those attending were physicians, health care professionals, public health officials, addiction treatment providers, corrections officials and community leaders.”

Says Libor Jany in the Strib, “Somali police officials have launched an investigation into the brutal death of a Minneapolis-born boarding school student following mounting pressure from U.S. authorities. … It isn’t uncommon for Somali parents to send their children away to boarding schools in their homeland to become more attuned with their culture and learn discipline, community leaders say. The practice, called dhaqan celis (loosely translated as ‘rehab kids’), isn’t without controversy, as critics point out that the students, many of whom were born in the states, often encounter a similar cultural gap in Somalia.”

We’ll know we matter when Donald Trump milks a cow at the Fair. In the PiPress, Rachel Stassen-Berger says, “Minnesota traditionally held an overlooked beauty pageant for Republicans in February that was little-attended. The Democrats’ caucus did win some attention but its place on the calendar meant it was often an afterthought for national campaigns. But that could change this year. Perhaps your columnist and Minnesota politicos are just being wishful in their thinking but Minnesota may actually net some sunshine in its shadowy existence.”

Our kids are ACT smart. Alejandra Matos of the Strib reports, “Minnesota students continue to lead the nation in ACT college entrance exam scores, according to national data released Wednesday. The state’s graduating class of 2015 earned the highest average composite score, 22.7 out of a possible 36, among states in which at least half the graduates took the test. The national average was 21. This marks the 10th straight year that Minnesota’s students outscored the rest of the nation.

Too bad we don’t have full scale camera access in court rooms. The AP says, “Eight people across the U.S. who registered to use Ashley Madison are suing the website for cheaters after hackers released personal and detailed information of millions of users, including financial data and sexual proclivities. The lawsuits were filed between last month and Monday by Ashley Madison users in California, Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee and Minnesota.”

Thanks all the same, I’ll swim at the gym. Says Allie Shah in the Strib, “Cue the ‘Jaws’ music. Unlike the predator from the granddaddy of all shark dramas, this menace to swimmers has no fins. In fact, it can’t even be seen. Worse, it takes many forms — parasite, bacteria or virus — and can make you really sick. In late summer, when sweltering heat drives many Minnesotans to seek relief in lakes and rivers, the risk of catching a bug from contaminated water rises. Because the lakes have gotten warmer along with everything else, there are more bacteria growing in them.”

Well, they better find a market somewhere. Says the AP, “State officials are weighing a question that could drastically expand Minnesota’s medical marijuana program and offer hope of relief to thousands of residents: Should it allow people with intractable pain to buy the new drug? … The state doesn’t have a firm grasp on how its patient base would increase if they expand the narrow list of qualifying conditions to include intractable pain. But there’s no doubt it would be a massive change. Manny Munson-Regala, chief executive of the medical marijuana manufacturer LeafLine Labs, said he thinks it could eventually triple or quadruple the 5,000 patients they currently expect to sign up.” And they’d double that if they counted existential anguish.

Vigilante justice in Winona. The AP (again) says, “Police say a pickup truck driver who accidentally struck a 4-year-old boy who had dashed into the street was beaten by bystanders in southeast Minnesota. … when the man got out of his vehicle to check on the child, bystanders started kicking and punching him. Winona Police Chief Paul Bostrack told The Associated Press that two or three people attacked the man. Police say the 18-year-old driver sustained scrapes and a chipped tooth and was released from the hospital.”

Now if they’d just serve espresso. Says Tim Nelson for MPR, “Metro Transit is offering free Internet connections aboard dozens of buses in a new test around the Twin Cities. The free Wi-Fi service will be available on nearly 60 express coaches and 10 local buses on a variety of routes. Riders will see signage on buses to tell them if there is Wi-Fi on board.” I hope it works better than the joke on airplanes.

Sally Jo Sorensen follows these, uh, “unique” individuals, so you and I don’t have to. In her Bluestem Prairie blog she writes, “On his personal Facebook page, which is open to all service users, Minnesota state representative Tim Miller shares a lurid Life News post, ‘Former Satanist: “I Performed Satanic Rituals Inside Abortion Clinics.”‘ Life News, which describes itself as ‘an independent news agency devoted to reporting news that affects the pro-life community’ with a weekly readership of 750,000, picked up self-proclaimed ex-satanist Zachary King’s sensational account from the Lepanto Institute, a conservative Catholic group founded last year by anti-choice activist Mitch Hichborn. … While King apparently first appears online in 2011 as a ‘Former Satanist turned Catholic Warrior for Christ’, his star more recently rose when he was featured as an expert on Satanism in the March/April 2015 ‘The Occult and Satanism in America’ issue of Crusade Magazine.”  My subscription lapsed and I sold my light-up devil horns at a garage sale.


Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/26/2015 - 06:57 am.

    Men and Women at the U

    The men’s coach gets a raise of $400K and the women’s coach gets a raise of $75K. Maybe she should have been a little more friendly to Norwood. Meanwhile, administrators are busy trying to find a way to codify how students interact sexually to define consent in the most precise terms. Right now it seems like it is the administration rather than the students that needs help with gender equality and consent. I heard that the phrase “do what I say, not what I do” is the working title of the consent document.

    • Submitted by Robert Owen on 08/26/2015 - 09:27 am.

      A flat rate

      Would you say the coaches, men and women, of all sports at the U should be paid the same as well? Is there any justification paying a basketball coach more than a swimming coach?

      • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/26/2015 - 12:33 pm.

        who has the longer season and who’s kids have the best GPAs?

        In my opinion sports as entertainment are way overvalued in our society. I believe in participation but usually find watching sports boring. It is like watching the same game over and over and over…endlessly. Calls to mind the stereotype of the guy with a beer in his hand parked in front of the TV ignoring his family. He needs a beer to dull his mind enough to sit there through all those games. I’d guess that the people wearing face paint at the capitol begging for a new stadium couldn’t care less about the quality of the education served at the U. I imagine that most Penn State donors didn’t care what Joe Paterno knew about sexual abuse by his assistant. And if Pitino (spelling?) ever drafts a player good enough to play in the NBA it will only be with the understanding that the kid will do as little school work as possible and will leave school as soon as possible. Members of college teams should be students first. If they can’t cut the academics they should be playing in the minors or on a playground somewhere. If Norwood Teague had been the head of the Anthropology department I doubt he would have been so full of himself and the school wouldn’t have allowed him to get away with what he did.

        So to answer your question, coaches should be valued the same way other staff members are: seniority, work load, achievement and on that basis the basketball coach did not deserve a raise.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/26/2015 - 07:49 am.

    U raises

    Bill’s point above is certainly a valid one. The disparate payment between men and women coaches who do the same job is an open invitation to a lawsuit. It’s an interesting, if unanswered question, why such suits are rarely brought. In any event, the university should be careful in criticizing Teague for any sex discrimination charges brought against him, when the sex discrimination engaged in, by the U could hardly be more blatant.

    The university is clearly in a panic mode here. They know they will be under enormous pressure to hire a woman athletic director to replace Teague. They know that if they do that, the new athletic director might very well choose to shift emphasis away from men’s sports by among other things, reducing the really indefensible pay gap between men’s and women’s coaches. That’s why it’s so important to tie the new athletic director’s hands in managing her department by entering into these contracts before one is hired.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/26/2015 - 08:48 am.

    One of the polite terms

    …to be used regarding the U’s decisions regarding pay raises for coaches might be “egg on their face.” Bill Schletzer’s comment seems on-target, and does Hiram Foster’s. I don’t know Beth Goetz, and have never met her, but can’t help but wonder why there’s a “nationwide search” for a Teague replacement when a perfectly capable replacement appears to be already working as the “interim” AD. Or, I might add, if she’s *not* a capable replacement, why did the university hire her in the first place?

    In the meantime, I’m sure faculty raises at the U are in line with Mr. Pitino’s $400,000… or at the very least, Ms. Stollings’ $75,000.

    Aren’t they?

    After all, professors of math, biology, English, history, theater, et al are surely just as important to the U’s “mission” as are coaches of a sport.

    Aren’t they?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/26/2015 - 09:10 am.

      Professors Important?

      I infer from your comment that you think the University is some kind of educational institution or something.

      Where would you get that idea?

    • Submitted by Wayne Coppock on 08/26/2015 - 09:44 am.

      Education not commercial sports

      I take pride in the fact that during one of my years in college, my school’s football team only had a single victory and it was over MIT. I’d say that speaks to the relative importance of educational attainment vs. sports there.

      I’m not impressed with the Midwest’s big 10 sports mania garbage. Leave it to the NBA/NFL and whatever other TLA ‘nonprofits’ that want to milk cities for handouts so they can line their pockets with billions of dollars. It has no place in an educational institution that wants to be taken seriously as such.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 08/26/2015 - 09:59 am.

      No, they’re obvioiusly not, in the current iteration of the U.

      The U of MN that Pres. Kaler and his predecessors have given us places a value on an athletic coach FAR HIGHER than any staff. A COACH, especially a BIG-TIME, BIG NAME COACH, is a precious jewel whose value is not to be confused with a mere professor !!

      Those subjects you name, Ray ? Are they even taught at the U of MN anymore ? Obviously, they could hardly be bringing in any money. And what’s a land grant University for anyway, if not to generate revenue ?

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/26/2015 - 10:18 am.

    My Son Holds a Master’s Degree from the U of M Minneapolis

    But now, 10 years later, I fear he might have discarded the U of M as a possibility.

    He is NOT a “jock,” nor particularly interested in sports,…

    and it currently appears, by their papering over and/or ignoring misconduct by their athletics director,…

    and now this massive raise for the MEN’s basketball coach,…

    that Men’s Athletics is ALL the U of M, Minneapolis is really concerned about.

    If this is all being driven by the U of M’s wealthiest alumni,…

    I’d suggest they REfocus their own efforts and their own giving patterns,…

    on making sure the U of M, Minneapolis is, first and foremost, an excellent EDUCATIONAL institution,…

    and that MEN’S SPORTS are a recreational and community-building sideline for the “U,”

    rather than the main event (and the main distraction) they have now become.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/26/2015 - 08:59 am.

    Here’s an idea

    Pay the coaches a percentage of the revenue that their sports generate.

    The men’s coaches make 4 times the women’s coaches but their sports generate almost 20 times the revenue as women’s sports.

    University of Minnesota-Twin Cities spent $28,853,399 on men’s teams and received twice that amount in revenue – $57,454,953.

    There are 11 head coaches for men’s teams. On average they make $447,149.

    University of Minnesota-Twin Cities spent $10,993,937 on women’s teams and received a third of that, $3,478,049, in revenue.

    There are 13 head coaches for women’s teams. On average they make $120,575.

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/26/2015 - 09:21 am.

    “Pay the coaches a percentage of the revenue that their sports generate.

    “The men’s coaches make 4 times the women’s coaches but their sports generate almost 20 times the revenue as women’s sports.”

    Basketball is the same sport, whether it’s played by men or women. To arbitrarily distinguish between men and women who play the same sport is pretty clearly gender discrimination.

    There are lots of different ways of compensating people. Some people work on an hourly wage. Others work on commission, which is more or less what Mr. Tester is proposing. The choice of which method to use in determining depends on a variety of factors. In this case, one could add up the revenues from basketball, and pay each coach a percentage of those revenues. But the moment you start allocating those percentages based on gender you are engaging in gender discrimination.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/26/2015 - 01:06 pm.


      Another consideration is what you are trying to motivate people to do. If the goal of athletic programs is revenue generation, then paying commission might make sense. At that point you may as well pay the ‘student’ athletes too.

  7. Submitted by John N. Finn on 08/26/2015 - 09:22 am.

    Keep on Truckin’

    Rochester’s KTTC coverage of the Winona incident provides more information.

    The take away: If you’re a good ole country boy proudly flying the confederate flag on your loud jacked up truck, be extra careful when driving through certain neighborhoods.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/26/2015 - 03:41 pm.


      I don’t approve of vigilantism, but it sounds like there was more to the story than was reported by the AP.

      Or, as the eyewitness may have said, “And I’m like, I don’t approve of vigilantism . . .”

  8. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/26/2015 - 09:28 am.

    The New AD

    I think it’s interesting to speculate on the impact these salary decisions will have on the search for a new Athletic Director. By raising salaries, and extending contracts, prior to his or more likely her hiring, the U is signalling to all potential candidates for the job that they won’t really be in charge of the department they supposedly lead. That’s an interesting choice with respect to a department that has so often been an embarrassment to the university and seems to be in need of strong leadership. That being the case, the university seems to have self limited their search options to candidates who are, for whatever reason, willing to accept a weakened position.

  9. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 08/26/2015 - 10:06 am.

    Pitino in the bottom half in pay

    The world’s smallest violin is playing for poor Pitino. Of course, this being the U athletics department, that tiny violin probably cost ten times any reasonable price. How about changing the name to “Department of throwing money around like it must be gotten rid of”? This money might be generated by the revenue sports, but it’s still public money.and U athletics are ridiculously wasteful.

    • Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 08/26/2015 - 01:01 pm.

      Would you say

      that Mr. Pitino is kind of like a C.E.O. ?

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 08/27/2015 - 01:12 pm.


      I don’t believe he had requested any music to be played either. The scholarly folks here seem to be very anti sports of any kind other than spelling bees and the knowledge bowl. There are many fans of sports in general and the U of M teams to be specific and the U also thinks the teams deserve to be there as well so it stands to reason that those people want to win and might be a large enough group of them to keep the sports teams at the school. You don’t have willing teams with coaching turnovers. Pitino was already being named for other jobs so the school thought it best to pay him so it was more likely he would stay. As far as the difference in amounts the coaches received I’d bet the womens coach was paid enough to put her in a similar place among her peers.

  10. Submitted by Tate Ferguson on 08/26/2015 - 01:24 pm.

    The U of M will never acknowledge…

    … comments or thoughts questioning big-time college sports, such as those above, by thoughtful alumni and MN residents.

    The U denies the very existence of the thousands of alumni who, like me, are alienated from their own school by the insane luxury afforded the Department of Running, Jumping, Throwing and Catching.

    My protest – the only one they’ll hear or understand – is to never donate a dime to the 2015 version of the University of Minnesota.

  11. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/26/2015 - 01:51 pm.

    Big time athletics

    Big time college athletics has no existential organizing principle and that goes a long way toward explaining why people who are involved with it seem so self contradictory and incoherent. They retreat reflexively from any situation that might prompt any broader examination of why we actually have such a thing as college sports. That’s why the university moved so quickly to get so many issues off the table prior to the investigation of the former athletic director and the hiring of the new AD. My favorite line in this morning’s Strib report was from Dean Johnson who was indirectly quoted as not wanting to step back from a commitment to success. Well, the problem with that is that although they may be committed to it, in practice they haven’t had success. The deeper problem is that since we don’t know what the goal of college sports really is, we can have no real idea whether they have been successful in achieving it. That’s something we can learn about as we hire a new athletic director, but in recent days, we have made sure that the new athletic director has been stripped of any real power within the department so whatever thought she might have on what it’s goals might be are made irrelevant.

  12. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 08/26/2015 - 02:04 pm.

    As an alumnus of the medical school and the school of public health, this sort of news really is disheartening. I received a tremendous education at the U, and I take pride in providing the same for our current medical students and residents. Ultimately, one has to ask if the University can truly be an excellent school and a powerhouse athletic program; in today’s environment that essentially means that the athletic program is run like a professional sports franchise, complete with astronomical coaching salaries and asking the public for increasingly plush facilities. The only difference is that the athletes get paid in the pros, but not at the University.

    Salaries have a nice way of ranking priorities; in this case, the U has decided that a coach needs a raise that is 2/3 of the president’s salary (625,000). When the coach makes 2.5 times the president, it’s hard to view the University as a school rather than a sports organization.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/26/2015 - 02:59 pm.

    Professional sports franchise

    One thing we can be fairly certain is that the university athletic programs are not now, and if the administration has anything to do with it, will not in the future be run anything like a professional sports franchise. There will be no astronomical player salaries, no workers compensation, I assume there is no long term health insurance, although that barely seems possible to me.

    It’s common to say that college sports is a business. If it is, it’s run like no other business I have ever seen in my life.

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