Coach exits leave lasting financial impact

The University will borrow internally to pay the multimillion dollar buyouts.

by Charley Bruce

Former University football coach Glen Mason and men’s basketball coach Dan Monson are gone, but their multimillion dollar buyouts will be around for years.

The athletics department will pay Mason and Monson approximately $3.5 million to terminate the coaches’ contract, and will have to borrow University money to do so.

The University said Mason will receive $2.2 million and Monson $1.3 million.

University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said the athletics department will borrow approximately

$2.9 million from central administration to be paid back over six or seven years. A seven-year loan will cost the department about $500,000 a year, he said.

The University will set up an internal loan, arrange a payment schedule and charge interest.

“We’re just like a bank when it comes to (internal loans),” Pfutzenreuter said.

Firing Mason won’t affect the funding of the TCF Bank Stadium, Pfutzenreuter said.

“The stadium itself stands on its own feet,” he said.

Kyle Coughlin, senior associate director of athletic communications, said no athletic programs will be cut despite the added costs.

He said athletics will recoup the buyouts, which are not lump sum payments, through ticket sales, television revenue and other income sources.

Another cost associated with the coaches’ departures is the $80,000 athletics is paying an Atlanta-based search firm, Baker Parker and Associates, Inc., to find new coaches for the men’s basketball and football teams.

The athletics operating budget will cover that expense.

The University hired the search firm to speed up the hiring process, Coughlin said. Firms have the resources and contacts to talk discreetly to more coaches compared to the University.

It will also take fewer man-power hours out of the athletics department, Coughlin said.

He expected a football coach to be found first, within the next few weeks.

Gerald B. Fischer, president and chief executive officer of the University of Minnesota Foundation, said Monson’s resignation and Mason’s firing has not affected donations to the University.

The foundation collects donations from alumni, corporations and other “friends” of the University and distributes the money to students and faculty, he said.

Donations between December 2006 and January 2007 have been some of the highest given in terms of number of donations and total dollars.

Margaret Sughrue Carlson, chief executive officer of the University of Minnesota’s Alumni Association, said the association has received only a “handful” of calls from alumni regarding Mason’s firing.

“It’s been unusually quiet at the Alumni Association,” Sughrue Carlson said.