MU employees question raise, not Anderson's style

The increased salary raised some eyebrows, but employees said Anderson had earned it after basketball team's performance and for his professional conduct.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | 10:18 p.m. CDT; updated 9:01 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 2, 2009
Missouri coach Mike Anderson watches his team practice on March 25 in Glendale, Ariz., where the Tigers fell to Connecticut in the Elite Eight. After speculation that he would be hired by other teams, Anderson signed a seven-year contract with MU.

COLUMBIA— Mike Anderson’s new contract with Missouri, which is for seven years and will reportedly increase his guaranteed salary to $1.55 million a year, was met with mixed reactions from MU employees.  

The announcement of the new contract comes after the University of Missouri System installed a system-wide hiring and wage freeze in November. In February, the UM System Board of Curators also granted UM System President Gary Forsee the power to put some staff on unpaid furloughs if necessary to reduce costs.

“I’m not happy about (Anderson’s raise).  But I would have felt worse about losing him,” said Stuart Palonsky, a professor and the director of MU’s Honors College.  

In his third season, Anderson led the Tigers to a Big 12 Conference tournament championship and the program’s third Elite Eight appearance since 1985 and has led a well-respected career as head coach.    

A few questioned if Anderson’s new guaranteed salary is too much.

“It should take more than money to motivate a coach,” said Maryann Williamson, executive staff assistant at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders.  “It should be a matter of pride with the team, not a matter of pay.”

With the hiring and wage freeze, academic departments at MU are facing a tenuous and uncertain financial period.  Positions can’t be filled if vacant, and written documentation is required to track departments’ savings.

“Even our purchases for toner or paper have to get written approval,” Williamson said. “In a way it’s frustrating to see us sacrificing and athletics not.

“But I’m glad we found someone with morals and values, and he is instilling them in kids for the rest of their lives and encouraging them to get a college education.”

Anderson’s winning season and respected coaching career have placed him in the competitive pay sphere for college coaches.  If his new contract is approved by the Board of Curators, who meet Thursday and Friday, it would make Anderson the third-highest paid basketball coach in the Big 12 Conference.

In that context, Palonsky said the size of Anderson’s contract makes sense.

“It (his salary) is not out of line,” Palonsky said.  “It’s a matter of market.  Is anyone worth that much money?”

Executive Director of MU’s Alumni Association Todd McCubbin agreed. “There is a market out there,” McCubbin said.  “It’s the way you have to play the game.”

A winning basketball season tends to elicit a positive response from alumni. But McCubbin said the way Anderson runs his program is an added bonus for members.

“What I hear the most from our alumni is how he and the team represented the university so positively,” he said. “We are happy to see him back.”

Despite the positive ending for the Tigers, other MU employees said that athletic success should not be the sole tool used for attracting students to Columbia.

 “It’s a good thing we kept him, but it’s not fair,” Kurt Wells, a print operator at Ellis copy Center said of Anderson’s raise.  “Our school has been focusing too much on student recruitment by the athletic department doing really well.  Instead we should be drawing new students with cutting edge academics.”  

Williamson said it is hard for people to remember that the athletic department’s budget is separate from that of the university’s as a whole, and that Anderson’s salary is not drawn from the resources used to pay faculty and staff salaries.   

“It’s ridiculous what coaches get paid, but it’s the norm now,” Williamson said. “It’s just the way it is, and I take it with a grain of salt.”

Other employees said there isn’t a major problem because the revenue generated by the team and the winning season the Tigers just completed justify the salary.  

“The athletic department is a revenue gathering branch of the university,” Palonsky said.  

Catherine Deatherage, a print operator and graduate of MU, said that a sports team’s success is good for people’s morale during a recession.  

“It’s a tangible victory that they can experience,” she said.

Many MU employees agree that Anderson is the right man for the job.

 “He is concerned with academics and with players’ well-being,” Palonsky said.  “He is all the things a college coach should be.”

McCubbin agrees, “We are happy to see him back.”

In regards to Anderson’s new contract with MU, Palonsky also injected a little humor.

“I’m personally envious,” Palonsky joked.  “I hope he takes me out to dinner.”



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bob john April 2, 2009 | 9:28 a.m.

I can only hope the above quote made by a lady, "It should take more than money to motivate a should be a matter of pride with the team," is meant to mean that those things are exactly who Mike Anderson is and that I simply misinterpreted her meaning. Coach Anderson left nearly EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS on the table by not signing with Georgia and potentially more than that if Memphis had decided to make an offer. Clearly, money is not the main thing on Coach Anderson's agenda.

(Report Comment)
Average Joe April 2, 2009 | 10:25 a.m.

As an employee of the university it is extremely frustrating to be told that our salaries are NOT at market with other peer institutions; we won't be getting a raise this year; we now have to contribute to our retirement fund which was the main reason people accepted the below market salaries AND our health insurance contributions are going up. Although I am extremely thankful to have a job I just wish that private donors who have deep pockets would have funded Mike Anderson's salary in such a hard time for the rest of us average employees of the university. I do congratulate the team and am hopeful that alums and the community understand that a good athletic program DOES help us recruit students but a great degree is what changes student's lives forever.

(Report Comment)
Chris Mealy April 2, 2009 | 10:41 a.m.

Why does everyone talk about his high moral character?
He has had players shot (his nephew), in fights, arrested, pulling shotguns on people. His "indefinite" suspensions never last more than a game or two. He had more off the court problems in the last three years then Quin had in his whole time here.
I am not saying he isnt a good coach, but I think we overpaid for a one year run that isnt likely to repete itself in the next 8 years. The exact same thing we did with Quin after his elite 8 run and UW came and offered him a lot of money to "come home".

(Report Comment)
Dallas Ford April 2, 2009 | 11:09 a.m.

Anderson does have character. That nephew you mentioned was one of the first players to ever be 1st team all Big 12 and 1st team all academic Big 12.
Anderson did have issues with the nightclub brawl but suspended each of those players. The only one involved that he actually recruited was Hannah and he never wore a uniform again. Grimes was kicked off the team for his poor decision as well.

Look around the Big 12 and you will see a number of players who have off court issues and suit up again almost immediately. Sherron Collins at ku was accused of and give a summary judgment for sexually assaulting a woman in an elevator and never missed a game.

As for Anderson's salary, he is currently third in the Big 12, which is in line with his accomplishments so far but below the market set by UK, Memphis and Georgia. My concern is that the contract is low enough to have to go through this haggling again if Anderson takes another team deep in the Tourney. The bball program generates millions for the university in profit after Anderson's salary and other costs are taken in to account. Time to get on board or move.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 2, 2009 | 2:02 p.m.

"I just wish that private donors who have deep pockets would have funded Mike Anderson's salary."

Unless Anderson has a different deal than Pinkel, most of his salary is funded by donations.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin April 2, 2009 | 4:23 p.m.

"The bball program generates millions for the university in profit after Anderson's salary and other costs are taken in to account."

"Unless Anderson has a different deal than Pinkel, most of his salary is funded by donations."

"The Athletic Department is self-supporting."

"Money in the Athletic Department comes from different funds, and therefore shouldn't be considered as part of the university-wide cutbacks."

I've never seen one iota of written or accounting proof for any of these comments, which seem to be recited as part of the Tiger cultural lexicon rather than as well-verified facts.

Like -- are the funds to settle that football player's family lawsuit coming solely from the AD or from the university?

We owe it to ourselves to see the proof in black and white before parroting something -- after all, MU is a public, taxpayer supported institution.

(Report Comment)
Lady Tiger Fan April 2, 2009 | 4:33 p.m.

i just think it's so odd that no one put up such a fuss when Pinkle's contract and salary was upgraded.

(Report Comment)
Mike Zweifel April 2, 2009 | 5:01 p.m.

Found these numbers on the MU budget site in a Powerpoint presentation:

Funds Budget Sources for Athletics - FY 2009
Campus support - $2,265,000 - 4.8%
Gifts, Endowment & Investments - $10,819,482 - 22.9%
Auxiliary and Miscellaneous Revenue - $34,145,535 - 72.3%
Total: $47,230,017

May not answer all questions, but it's a start.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 2, 2009 | 5:37 p.m.

"I've never seen one iota of written or accounting proof for any of these comments."

Regarding the amount of Pinkel's salary funded by donations, Alden or somebody else in the athletic department confirmed that in the press when the new deal was announced.

(Report Comment)
Andrea Rau April 2, 2009 | 6:20 p.m.

The TV air time and exposure Mizzou received as a result of the Basketball tournament play would have cost a fortune. No one can argue that.
During March Maddness every other sports show/report talked about the games for
weeks. The Tigers from University of Missouri were right in the mix.

I agree that the salary of the teaching staff should mirror
the salary of the coaching staff, but alas that is saddly fantasy.

I believe that the academic achievements of the players are certainly a postive reflection on the University and it's ability to provide a top notch education. So many young people look up to these men and women. When they see a great mix of scholarship and sports it becomes a true win-win situation or all. Go Tigers

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 3, 2009 | 6:24 a.m.
(Report Comment)
John Beaumonte April 3, 2009 | 8:40 a.m.

Is what still going on? Kids who feel that they are entitled or assistant coaches begging for passing grades for student athletes'? Probably both.

(Report Comment)
Kyle Schettler April 3, 2009 | 1:05 p.m.

She had questioned if that the link she sent above was still going on with kids being entitled.
Ayn, I think that article you sent is very interesting. There was a lot of great information there.

(Report Comment)

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