Private donors fund UCA athletic department pay raises

Correction added.

Five coaches at the University of Central Arkansas will receive pay raises this year despite a long-running salary freeze that has faculty and staff in other departments considering jobs elsewhere, officials said Tuesday.

 

The salary adjustments were approved Friday during the Board of Trustees meeting, much to the dismay of some faculty.

“I was surprised,” Faculty Senate President Kevin Browne said. “I wish it had happened at a time when all of us could have been enjoying a raise.”

Athletic Director Brad Teague said the pay raises — paid for through private money donated through the Purple Circle, a fund under the UCA Foundation — were necessary to keep quality coaches. Discussions about pay raises for the athletic department started in December, he said. Even so, UCA still lost two coaches, he said.

“I want to do everything I can to help my staff,” Teague said.

The pay raises will be paid through the Foundation every year, Teague said. These are not like the one-time $1,000 bonuses to be handed out to faculty and staff members Sept. 30, he said.

“In an effort to keep our staff intact, we offered nominal raises,” Teague said.

The raises amount to a total of $19,364, split differently among assistant coach Dan Augustine, quarterback coach Nathan Brown, head coach Clint Conque, assistant coach Brooks Hollingworth and assistant coach Matthew Kubik, all in the football department, according to documents released at the trustees’ meeting Friday.

Even with the raises, UCA doesn’t pay as much to its coaches as other members of its conference, Teague said.

Teague said he couldn’t comment on whether giving pay raises to the coaches is fair. Browne said some faculty members are concerned.

“There certainly are some faculty who don’t feel good about it,” Browne said. “It’s not a net plus for morale.”

UCA employees have seen one pay raise in several years. Classified employees received a 2 percent pay increase last year, and nonclassified employees, which includes professors, last saw a pay increase in 2010 at 2.25 percent, wrote Graham Gillis, associate vice president of human resources, in an email previously.

Browne said pay raises are important, but faculty members are also concerned about pay equity and compression issues.

Currently, pay raises for faculty are not in the budget.

But Teague pointed out his decision isn’t the first time donations have been used for salaries. The university accepted this month a $150,000 pledge from Acxiom Corp., to help pay for teacher salaries in the College of Business. Five faculty members in the management information systems department will receive up to $37,500 per year for four years because of the donation, according to a UCA news release. About a year ago, the company gave UCA’s computer science department about $200,000 “to underwrite the hiring of a new tenure-track faculty member in that department,” the release said.

There is no rule that says pay raises cannot be funded by private donations, Teague said. Still, he acknowledged some UCA departments would have more access to those donor dollars than others.

Two donors specifically wanted to make sure UCA kept quality coaches, Teague said.

Courtway did not return a phone message left on his cell phone Friday afternoon. He said previously he wants to give merit and cost of living increases, if possible, next year.

“Conway is a great place to live; UCA is a great place to work,” Teague said. “At the end of the day, money talks.”

 

Correction: Seven coaches in the football or men's basketball departments at UCA received pay raises totaling a combined $26,65, according to the Personnel Board List handed out Sept. 7 at the Board of Trustees meeting. 

 

Those with pay raises are:

1. Dan Augustine, assistant coach, football, from $51,636 to $54,000.

2. Nathan Brown, quarterback coach, football, from $45,000 to $50,000.

3. Clint Conque, head coach, football, from $132,517 to $137,517.

4. Brooks Hollingworth, assistant coach, football from $57,000 to $62,000.

5. Matthew Kubik, assistant coach, football, from $43,000 to $45,000.

6. Anthony Walker, assistant coach, men's basketball, from $20,400 to $25,000

7. Mathew Williamson, assistant coach, football, from $59,305 to $62,000.

 

Pay raises ranged from $2,000 to $5,000.

 

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