Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle and his five highest-paid coaches are taking 10% pay cuts over six months in their second voluntary salary reduction during the COVID-19 pandemic, the school announced Thursday.
P.J. Fleck (football), Richard Pitino (men’s basketball), Lindsay Whalen (women’s basketball), Bob Motzko (men’s hockey) and Hugh McCutcheon (volleyball), along with Coyle, had each agreed to a previous cut equivalent to one week’s pay.
Those cuts in April saved more than $168,000, according to figures given to the Star Tribune. The second voluntary pay cut will save the Gophers roughly $445,000 at a time when the athletic department is facing at least a $10 million loss because of the pandemic.
“I want to thank Lindsay, P.J., Richard, Hugh and Bob for taking a voluntary reduction in pay,” Coyle said in a statement. “… I appreciate their dedication to Minnesota and willingness to help in a time of financial uncertainty.”
The department has presented three scenarios for overall losses in athletics, ranging from $10 million if sports return this fall, to $30 million if sports are played without fans and a $75 million hit if there are no sports before January.
“We’re not alone in this situation,” Gophers CFO Rhonda McFarland told the Board of Regents last Friday. “There are only a handful of athletic departments that could manage a $30 million loss. And likely very few that would survive a $75 million reduction in revenue.”
Coaches and ADs around the country are taking voluntary cuts. At Wisconsin, for example, AD Barry Alvarez, football coach Paul Chryst and men’s basketball coach Greg Gard agreed to 15% pay cuts over six months.
Among Gophers coaches who have taken cuts, Fleck has the highest salary ($4.6 million next season), followed by Pitino ($2.4 million), Coyle ($975,000), Motzko ($593,250), McCutcheon (about $500,000) and Whalen ($496,500).
University President Joan Gabel said in early April that members of her cabinet were taking 10% salary cuts for the next fiscal year to join 200 other top leaders across five campuses.
The Gophers’ $123 million athletic budget is the eighth-biggest budget in the Big Ten, but they have to support the fourth-most sports in the conference at 25.
The Gophers are planning for a double-digit reduction in each sport’s budget, which includes recruiting and travel savings measures such as regional travel for nonconference games. Cutting sports has not been discussed, but Coyle said last week that “everything is on the table.”
“I would argue we have maximized our revenue better than most across the country,” Coyle said earlier. “So obviously we’re going to have to look at that.”
Staff writer Randy Johnson contributed to this report.