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September 23, 2014

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UNLV’s bargains, cash cows

Ron Kantowski breaks down the athletic department payroll, from AD to tennis coach

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Sun File photo

Ron Kantowski says Lon Kruger earns every penny of his $195,000 salary.

Beyond The Sun

Mike Hamrick makes more than the president.

So did Babe Ruth.

But whereas the Sultan of Swat supposedly said he had a better year than Herbert Hoover, it’s debatable that Hamrick, the UNLV athletic director, had a better year than University President David Ashley.

According to the UNLV Human Resources Department, Hamrick’s base salary is $255,000. Ashley’s is $236,946.

Ruth’s was $75,000. He wanted $80,000, which is what Hoover made. But that was 1930.

In 2008, Hamrick is the fifth-highest-paid employee on the UNLV payroll.

• John White, the dean of the William S. Boyd School of Law, makes $325,000.

• Neal Smatresk, a vice president and provost, makes $275,000.

• Karen West, the dean of the School of Dental Medicine, makes $257,000.

• William Boldt, a vice president of advancement, makes $265,000.

Then comes Hamrick at $255,000. That’s a lot of passing “go” and a lot of collecting $200.

He’s not the only one taking a ride on the Reading. There are 18 athletic department employees making at least $100,000. Seven are football coaches.

Considering the Rebels are coming off three consecutive two-win seasons, that means the football coaches make a minimum of $50,000 per win. And they say A-Rod is overpaid.

Here’s a further look at your tax dollars at play, with my two cents at the end, which doesn’t cost a thing (at least if you’re reading on the Internet).

OVERPAID

Mike Hamrick

Position: Director of athletics

Salary: $255,000

Comment: Most people’s idea of a good athletic director is someone raising money, not making it.

Mike Sanford

Position: Head football coach

Salary: $150,000

Comment: Remember, it’s his offense — not Urban Meyer’s. Meyer won the national championship with Sanford’s offense. Sanford is 6-29.

Todd Berry

Position: Associate head coach, football

Salary: $153,000

Comment: It’s not his offense, it’s Sanford’s. Yet Berry makes more money than his head coach. At least until you add in the coach’s shows and the country club memberships.

Perk Weisenburger

Position: Associate athletic director/external affairs

Salary: $124,183

Comment: He’s the marketing whiz who told half the ticket sellers at Sam Boyd Stadium to stay home before the football season opener a couple of years ago. Make us your team? Not if I can’t buy a ticket.

Lonni Alameda

Position: Head softball coach

Salary: $72,420

Comment: In February, when UNLV was ranked in the top 25, she was worth every penny. Now it’s April and she’s 21-27-1.

Buddy Gouldsmith

Position: Head baseball coach

Salary: $77,681

Comment: If Gouldsmith were winning, you could argue that he’s underpaid. But he’s not. Winning or underpaid.

Owen Hambrook

Position: Head men’s tennis coach

Salary: $47,964

Comment: Hambrook is a nice guy with a 13-14 conference record in five seasons. At least he has two local kids on his roster.

Mario Sanchez

Position: Head men’s soccer coach

Salary: $61,200

Comment: They don’t list Sanchez’s record on his Web site bio. He’s 8-25-4 in two seasons. Now you know why.

Tony Houchin

Position: Head cross country coach

Salary: $40,000

Comment: I don’t know who Tony Houchin is but for 40 grand, you could probably get Frank Shorter.

Sara Swanson

Position: Football program coordinator

Salary: $46,239

Comment: For that money, Mike Sanford’s secretary should also have to coach something.

UNDERPAID

Kat Mertz

Position: Head women’s soccer coach

Salary: $61,529

Comment: Three conference championships in three years on the job. ’Nuff said.

Andy Grossman

Position: Director, media relations

Salary: $58,457

Comment: At most schools, the sports information director is called an associate athletic director. And paid like one.

Bryan Haines

Position: Sports information specialist

Salary: $35,575

Comment: When it comes to media, this guy is more valuable than a Swiss Army knife. I think we need to pass a hat for him.

Kyle Wilson

Position: Head trainer

Salary: $61,808

Comment: How many pulled groins on 320-pound offensive linemen do you have to treat before they give you a raise?

WORTH EVERY PENNY

Lon Kruger

Position: Head men’s basketball coach

Salary: $195,000

Comment: If you thought the past two years were special — and they were — just wait until he gets some players.

Dwaine Knight

Position: Head men’s golf coach

Salary: $150,679

Comment: Knight’s program is one of the nation’s best and is fully endowed, meaning he knows how to raise money. His people should talk to Mike Hamrick’s people.

Daren Libonati

Position:Director, Thomas & Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium

Salary: $187,026

Comment: Mike Hamrick couldn’t balance his books without this guy.

Kevin Cory

Position: Head women’s tennis coach

Salary: $61,676

Comment: UNLV is ranked 51st in women’s tennis, which must be good, even if doesn’t sound that good. But Cory has been named conference coach of the year twice in his eight seasons, which is definitely good.

Jim Reitz

Position: Head men’s and women’s swimming coach

Salary: $98,657

Comment: Reitz’s kids win and go to class and like him, and they’ve been doing it forever.

Missy Ringler

Position: Head women’s golf coach

Salary: $65,117

Comment: The women golfers are having an off year but Ringler’s entitled to one after guiding UNLV to five consecutive NCAA regional appearances.

Allison Keeley

Position: Head women’s volleyball coach

Salary: $73,500

Comment: The Rebels went to the NCAA tournament this year and placed eight players on the All-Academic team. Keeley can stay.

Jerry Koloskie

Position: Associate athletic director

Salary: $140,846

Comment: He does most of the work and returns phone calls.

Paul Pucciarelli

Position: Equipment director

Salary: $63,987

Comment: Maybe it doesn’t seem right that the equipment guy makes more than the trainers at UNLV. But whereas I’ve seen Rebels get injured, I’ve never seen one take the field without a uniform.

Greg Grensing

Position: Assistant basketball coach

Salary: $127,530

Comment: When the head coach succeeds, so do you.

MONEY FOR NOTHING, CHECKS FOR FREE

Regina Miller

Position: Ex-head women’s basketball coach

Salary: $173,000

Comment: Miller guided the Lady Rebels to eight consecutive winning seasons, then had two losing ones, and got herself fired with a year remaining on her contract. Now she’s getting handsomely paid for doing nothing.

Barry Barto

Position: Ex-head men’s soccer coach

Salary: $101,777

Comment: It’s like Stan Musial said after he retired: “I have a good job with the Cardinals but don’t ask me what I do.” Once upon a time, Barto was an outstanding soccer coach. He’s still being paid like one after getting the ax.

(Editor's note: This story has been corrected. In an earlier version, a statement in the Comment portion mistakenly referred to Tony Houchin as "Todd" Houchin.)

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