Fulmer gets raise to $2.4 million; Pearl to $1.6 million

Update: Hamilton says raises well earned

Mike Hamilton on the finances surrounding the coaches' raises

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UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton met with the media in his office Wednesday to discuss the raises given to coaches Phillip Fulmer and Bruce Pearl. He also addressed Coach Fulmer's history at UT and fan perception.

UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton met with the media in his office Wednesday to discuss the raises given to coaches Phillip Fulmer and Bruce Pearl. He also addressed Coach Fulmer's history at UT and fan perception. Watch »

Video

UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton met with the media in his office Wednesday to discuss the raises given to coaches Phillip Fulmer and Bruce Pearl. He also addressed the speculation that Pearl had interest in or was approached to coach somewhere else.

UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton met with the media in his office Wednesday to discuss the raises given to coaches Phillip Fulmer and Bruce Pearl. He also addressed the speculation that Pearl had interest in or was approached to coach somewhere else. Watch »

  • 1993: $300,000
  • 1994: $400,000
  • 1995: $430,000
  • 1996: $470,000
  • 1997: $610,000
  • 1998: $750,000
  • 1999: $950,000
  • 2000: $1,050,000
  • 2001: $1,300,000
  • 2002: $1,600,000
  • 2003: $1,660,000
  • 2004: $1,790,000
  • 2005: $2,050,000
  • 2006: $2,050,000
  • 2007: $2,050,000
  • 2008: $2,400,000

SEC Football Coaches annual salaries

  • Nick Saban, Alabama: $4,000,000
  • Les Miles, LSU: $3,750,000
  • Urban Meyer, Florida: $3,250,000
  • Bobby Petrino, Arkansas: $2,850,000
  • Tommy Tuberville, Auburn: $2,800,000
  • Mark Richt, Georgia: $2,800,000
  • Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee: $2,400,000
  • Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: $1,750,000
  • Houston Nutt, Ole Mis: $1,700,000
  • Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State: $1,700,000
  • Rich Brooks, Kentucky: $1,600,000
  • As a private institution, Vanderbilt is not required to release coach Bobby Johnson’s salary.

UT football staff salary comparison (2007; 2008; difference)

  • Phillip Fulmer, Head coach: $2,050,000; $2,400,000; $350,000
  • John Chavis, Defensive coordinator: $325,000; $340,000; $15,000
  • Dan Brooks, Defensive line coach: $154,000; $190,000; $46,000
  • Steve Caldwell, Defensive ends coach: $150,000; $200,000; $50,000
  • Larry Slade, Defensive backs coach: $146,000; $175,000; $29,000
  • Dave Clawson* Offensive coordinator: $340,000; $340,000; N/C
  • Greg Adkins Offensive line coach: $150,636; $200,000; $49,364
  • Stan Drayton* Running backs coach: $150,000; $170,000; $20,000
  • Latrell Scott* Wide receivers coach: $175,000; $150,000; -$25,000
  • Jason Michael* Tight ends: $130,000; $170,000; $30,000

*Denotes new coach; 2007 salaries for previous coaches at that position

Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer and men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl both received raises and contract extensions that will pay the coaches $2.4 million and $1.6 million, respectively, for their upcoming seasons, UT announced Wednesday.

Fulmer’s raise, his first since prior to the 2005 season, increased his $2.05 million salary by $350,000, while Pearl’s deal increased $300,000 from $1.3 million last year.

Fulmer’s salary ranks seventh among SEC coaches, while Pearl is third in the SEC behind Florida’s Billy Donovan and Kentucky’s Billy Gillispie.

“The raises are justified based on performance of the teams involved that these coaches are responsible for and what they’re doing around (and) what’s actually happening on the field and on the court, the way they’re representing the institution both regionally and nationally,” UT men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton said.

UT president John Petersen said in a statement: “I am excited to know they will continue to be ambassadors of our great university for many years to come. Their roles in the community, as fundraisers for both athletics and the university itself are unparalleled. UT athletics has a tremendous economic impact on our university, city and state.”

Fulmer guided the Vols to their sixth SEC championship game appearance since 1997 and defeated Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.

Pearl took the Vols to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament, the first No. 1 ranking in the program’s history and the first outright SEC regular-season championship in 41 years.

“Bruce has plowed new ground for us basketball-wise,” Hamilton said. “This contract rewards him for that and makes the choice to even think about leaving a very hard choice. I think that we’ll see his time here be a long time and one that will have even greater levels of success.”

Both contracts include guaranteed annual raises and loyalty bonuses.

Fulmer’s seven-year contract escalates to $3.3 million by 2014, the final year of his deal, and averages $2.99 million. Included in the contract are annual raises of $150,000 each season, although Fulmer can earn an additional raise of $100,000 for playing in the SEC championship game, $150,000 for a BCS bowl berth without winning the SEC, $350,000 for an SEC championship or an $850,000 raise for a BCS national title in any year of his contract.

Fulmer’s previous one-time bonus structure remains in place, which ranges from $37,500 for a non-BCS bowl berth to a $250,000 bonus for winning the BCS national championship.

“I think (Fulmer is) under appreciated in a lot of ways by a lot of people because he has been here so long,” Hamilton said. “But I can tell you in comparing him to other coaches around the country, he’s clearly one of the best. His record reflects that and his persona and character reflects that when you’re around him on a more intimate basis.”

Additionally, Fulmer will automatically receive a one-year extension if the Vols win eight regular-season games, and his contract calls for a $1 million longevity bonus to be paid in December 2012 to reward him for 20 years of service as head coach.

“That commitment and that support has allowed us stability that is very, very unusual in college football with me and our staff and our support group around us,” Fulmer said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “It’s given us a chance to play at a high level. I really thank and appreciate (UT president) Dr. (John) Petersen and the Board of Trustees and Mike Hamilton for their continued confidence and support of our program and our people and our philosophy that we have in place.”

Pearl received a $250,000 signing bonus and an immediate $1.5 million retention bonus. As a result, Pearl must pay the university $2.5 million should he leave Tennessee for a job elsewhere this year. That $2.5 million buyout decreases to $1 million by the end of the deal in 2014.

Pearl’s contract will escalate to $2.2 million over the six-year term and pays him an average salary of $2.3 million a year, factoring in his retention bonus.

“I hope that I’ve been nothing but consistent with my commitment,” Pearl said Wednesday. “Leaving Tennessee has never, ever been a thought. Like I said, I’ve been blessed.”

Hamilton said Pearl is happy at Tennessee, and that he had not received any formal requests to interview Pearl, whose name surfaced in connection with head-coaching jobs at Iowa and Indiana in recent years.

Fulmer previously had a $1 million buyout clause if he left for another coaching job, however that clause is not present in his latest deal.

The formula for a university buyout as a result of terminating Fulmer’s contract remains the same as previous years: Fulmer’s base pay multiplied by the years remaining on his contract plus one year of TV/radio appearance fees, equipment and apparel fees and an endorsement/appearance fees and an additional $1 million.

The university has a similar buyout formula for terminating Pearl’s contract.

The bonuses and step raises included in both deals are designed to help offset rising salaries for coaches nationally, Hamilton said, as well as keep contract talks from being a yearly occurrence.

“In any particular year, if we didn’t make a significant change, that doesn’t mean we’re unhappy with the coach. But there are those out there who now perceive that to be the case,” Hamilton said. “Through the compensation clauses that we’ve added, that helps mitigate some of those concerns and questions out of the gate every year.”

However major achievements by either would likely still result in contract renegotiations, Hamilton said.

Wednesday’s announcement is also an indication of the university’s continued support of Fulmer, whose job status has divided fans in recent seasons as UT’s 1998 SEC and national championships grow more distant.

Fulmer has said publicly he wants to coach for another 8-10 years, and Hamilton reiterated Wednesday that he wants Fulmer at Tennessee for years to come.

“I know he’s adamant about trying to move up the ranks in SEC wins and Tennessee wins,” Hamilton said. “His plans are to coach for a while, and I’m going to support him in doing that in the hopes that we’ll also see some rings and trophies along the way.”

The announcement of the new contracts, which have been finalized for months, follows news that UT will not provide raises for faculty because of a shortfall in state funding. The university also faces $11.1 million in budget cuts for the Knoxville campus.

“The reality is where the economy is right now, there’s no good day to announce it,” he said. “The athletic department, while we are the University of Tennessee, we are self-funding. Anything we decide to do in this regard, we have to find the funds for.”

Still, Tennessee is one of a handful of athletic departments in the nation that does not receive funding directly from the state and self-generates the entirety of its budget, projected to grow to about $94 million for fiscal 2008-09.

Discussions regarding UT women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt’s new contract are ongoing, but a deal has yet to be finalized.

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 379

MillisaAnn writes:

I'm sorry but in my opinion Fulmer doesn't deserve a raise.

And Congrats to Coach Pearl!!! :) :) :)

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

UT still ranks in the bottom half of the SEC for coach's salaries. Why is that? Regardless of what your opinion is of Coach Fulmer, hard to say he doesn't deserve a raise that puts him at 7th among SEC coaches.

thesavageorange writes:

This is gonna get ugly.I think I'll watch from the stands.C-ya.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

We won't have to worry about the SEC, BCS, or national title bonuses any time soon. Smart move by Hamilton by putting that in there as a bonus so that Foolmore thinks he might have the potential to make more money by winning something.

VenomousVol writes:

Cut Fulmer's salary. If you will look at the chart on the left, he hasn't won diddly since he topped a miliion a year.

gohawks1 writes:

Uh-oh, indeed. Keep your heads down, boys, there's liable to be some shootin' with this one...

voloffaith writes:

Yeah, Marc_ash its screamin time I hear you're gonna leave me on this article all by my lonesome. I'm leavin 4 sure since the crafters of wood will come out as you say.....

Moaninglikeheck writes:

Here here MarineVol. As a matter of fact, it's almost an insult.

Pay vs performance is a two way street. Fulmer is the DEAN of SEC coaches and has a National Title. I know, I know, "what have you done for me lately?"...But ask yourself, what are we doing for him to show gratitude for his loyalty and longevity? Putting him atop the bottom half of the pack? You can get away with that with an unproven up-and-coming, but it's an insult to Fulmer if you think about it.

tigervol9802 writes:

Better than the 2.6 that I had heard.

Still not warranted.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

How ironic that Pearl's contract doesn't have performance bonuses such as winning the SEC East, SEC tourney, the SEC, getting to the NCAA tourney, Sweet 16, Final 4, etc. and Foolmore's does. I am glad that we have to motivate Foolmore to win where as Pearl doesn't need carrots such as performance bonuses for winning titles and being successful in his contract.

voloffaith writes:

leavin' ya'll with the kingpin of woodwork mr. wuckinlackhekyl to spew negativity to all who will see and say the mantra....Phil must go...Phil must go...Phil....you get the picture 4 sure. Not cloudy at all. They ain't happy as long as he is our coach. Gone to view other articles leaving this one 4 guud.

TommyJack writes:

IPO: Not from me. Will show restraint. Can only say the same thing about 700 ways. (Adams bashers should consider this)

Vol13 writes:

Fulmer won't be here in 2014 and if he is, then Neyland Stadium will be darn near empty due to the fact that we'll be struggling to beat Vandy and Kentucky. Oh wait. We already are!

I don't mind him getting a raise. But I am NOT for a contract extension of any kind, as this only rears its ugly head down the line. Hammy will likely be outed when the time comes for entering into such an insane agreement.

It's about to get really ugly on The Hill. (Mediocre Coach + AD In Over His Head) X Both Being In Business Deals With Major UT Donors = DISASTER when all doesn't come out smelling rosy. Friendships will be lost. Some lifelong or nearly lifelong. They are selling the UTAD donor list to the TOP UTAD Donors so that they can market their products (houses, fuel, carpet, subdivsions, condos, developments) to the UT fan. Obviously, they are all in this together and are splitting the profits to supplement other income. Sick. Sick. Sick. The UTAD is no longer about putting the best product possible on the field. It's about the GOBN (Good Ole Boy Network) and protecting their little enterprise. If we're able to win a few games here and there - then all the better.

The common UT fan that grew up loving the Vols, wearing Orange at every opportunity, and daydreaming of Running Through the T, or playing like you took the Toss Sweep to the house out in the yard - has been sold out in the name of GREED! A select few are ruining the product that we all love. And even sadder is that only a "select few" have the objectivity to be able to see it. Wake up people!!!

smarnold3 writes:

First off, I love all my Vol teams. Have been listening to or watching for the better part of 45 years. I am not going to say Phil does not deserve a raise. However I do have to question the timing of giving coach a $400,000(20%) pay raise when our team has not been that productive in the past few years. (no championships other than the East Division and two really bad bowl games). Then we raise the season ticket prices when everyone is battling high gas prices and last but not least we start charging the students $90 for a season ticket. And then there is the BB coach and yes he did at least win the SEC and get us to the final 16 again, but what about PAT! "8 National Titles" Just seems like bad business practice Mr. AD

TommyJack writes:

Kingsport: Golden Coral LOL. What a mental picture...a loaded tray in each hand...wow.

writer#358485 writes:

Yep, I expect most true Vol fans will tune out on this one and let the haters have it. Maybe they'll get tired of reading each other's rants. Naw, it'll never happen, they thrive on the vitriolic and inanity.

All the raises are well-deserved.

gohawks1 writes:

TJ - you could still get caught in the crossfire, though. Stay low, and keep your helmet on. This could get ugly.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Hey Foolmore, you're only the 7th highest paid coach in the SEC. Man, what a blow to the ol' ego. I'm sure you'll be a little embarrassed at SEC media days when the other coaches with bigger contracts snicker behind your back. That's okay though, you used to be a good coach back in the 90s. That'll show 'em.

Vol13 writes:

Posted by Moaninglikeheck on July 2, 2008 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Here here MarineVol. As a matter of fact, it's almost an insult.

Pay vs performance is a two way street. Fulmer is the DEAN of SEC coaches and has a National Title. I know, I know, "what have you done for me lately?"...But ask yourself, what are we doing for him to show gratitude for his loyalty and longevity? Putting him atop the bottom half of the pack? You can get away with that with an unproven up-and-coming, but it's an insult to Fulmer if you think about it."

Yeah. And labor union employees deserve to work 5.5 hours (out of 8), earn $30+ per hour (when they have no degree past high school/GED), and have their healthcare costs paid 100% by their company. Who, by the way, is losing billions of dollars annually because of this and closing down shops all across the nation. But these guys deserve all of this because they have "been there a long time" and are "good ole boys." Makes sense to me. No wonder China, Japan, India, and Mexico are thriving.

threehundredbowler writes:

Fulmer deserved the raise and should have recieved more.Pearl is about where he should be.Pearl is doing a great job and will demand more later.Fulmer is doing a great job with the exception of 2005.TDTN makes a joke that Fulmer will hoist the Sears trophy at season end.The joke could well be on TDTN.Raise that trophy Fulmer.Show us YOU MEAN BUSINESS.

gohawks1 writes:

Kingsport, does that amount leave enough to cover the tip?

HotlantaVol writes:

smarnold at 12:47 - Don't forget that Pat doesn't negotiate with Hamilton. She works for Cronan.

I am okay with this. Not giving raises and/or contract extensions is fuel that other coaches use to raise doubts in recruits. If a coach is recognized as being on the hot seat by an athletic department, $aban, Richt and Meyer use it to their advantage to sway athletes their direction.

Congrats, everyone. Now go out and earn it.

TommyJack writes:

vol13: Lovable, mentor, teacher. Now Dean. Congrats Dean Fulmer! I wish I had your agent.

TommyJack writes:

IPO: Where you been, man?

tigervol9802 writes:

Ashley -

Please tell me where I said anything about Pearl.

Funny thing, Fulmer can't fill up a 102,000 seat stadium 2/3 of the time now either. Used to have over 110,000.

thesavageorange writes:

tngeoff ,What's the over under on # of posts?Come join me in the crows nest.The nachos are stale and the beers flat, but it will be fun to watch nonetheless.And fighting out of the orange corner.........

GerryOP writes:

Dang, "...first raise since before the 2005 season..." Scary! Are ya'all old enough to remember what happened in 2005?

300bowler - That would be the Sears-Kmart Trophy that Coach Fulmer might be hoisting on high...

gohawks1 writes:

TJ - I took a 2 week trip to the land of the mosquito woman. Cruised and then spent time in the great state of Alaska. Beautiful place.

LadyVolsEighTimes writes:

Posted by WorkinLikeHeck on July 2, 2008 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How ironic that Pearl's contract doesn't have performance bonuses such as winning the SEC East, SEC tourney, the SEC, getting to the NCAA tourney, Sweet 16, Final 4, etc. and Foolmore's does. I am glad that we have to motivate Foolmore to win where as Pearl doesn't need carrots such as performance bonuses for winning titles and being successful in his contract.
*************************************************
CBP's contract most definetly does have those bounus clauses in them! CPF himself discussed them on TV, not the numbers but what they were.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

shhhh....don't tell your 90s stories too loud at SEC media days to the other coaches Foolmore. You wouldn't want Spurrier to overhear you and have to own you again.

Vol13 writes:

Typical of the UF fans to try and diminish Pearl's accomplishments. If you don't think that Pearl is more of an asset to UT right now than Fulmer is, then sign up for Econ 101 at Pellissippi State by the end of the day!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Why do we even have separate athletic departments for men and women? You'd think that that there are at least a couple of jobs that are duplicated and could be done without. This could save the AD at least a hundred thousand or more and help balance the budget even more. Get on it Hambone.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

ladyvolseighttimes, Pearl's contract contains nothing in it for winning the SEC East, SEC, SEC tourney, or getting to the NCAAs. He only gets a bonus if they go to the Sweet 16 or beyond and then get a coach of the year award.

TommyJack writes:

Pearl's accomplishments are undiminishable.

walt23tn writes:

Please explain this to me. Pearl has brought our basketball program to national prominence and Fulmer has let our football program dip into mediocrity. It seems like there is one raise too many in this article. A number one basketball ranking and a year where we didn't deserve to be in the top 25 in football all year. A top 10 basketball recruiting class and a 40th best football recruiting class? I agree with Tommyjack, Fulmer's agent is the person who really deserves a raise for pulling that one off.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Spurrier - 6 SEC titles in 2 less years than Foolmore and then 3 years with USC.

Foolmore - 2 SEC titles

BADGES0413 writes:

13,

I fell asleep many a time in Econ Lectures from Dr. Carroll in the SPAM can. But I did learn that $35,000,000 (appx football ticket revenue) is more than $8,000,000 (appx basketball ticket revenue). Football has always financed UT's other sports and will pay some of Pearl's salary.

cobbwebb writes:

YOU KNUCKLEHEADS ,ARGUE ABOUT SOMETHING THAT MATTERS, LIKE SHOULD CHAVIS GET FUDGE BROWNIES , BANNANA PUDDING , OR BOTH FOR DESSERT AT GOLDEN CORRAL. WARRANTED OR NOT ANY OF YOU WOULD LOVE A PAY RAISE LIKE THIS . WHAT SHOULD COACH FULMER TELL MIKE HAMILTON NO NO I CANT TAKE A HALF MILLION DOLLAR RAISE ,I DONT DESERVE IT , GET REAL PEOPLE. CONGRATS TO THE COACHES GET WHAT YOU CAN OR LIKE THEY SAY IN MY HOOD GET IN WHERE YOU FIT IN. GO VOLS !!!!!! P.S. CHAVIS GET SPRINKLES ON YOUR SWIRL ICECREAM CONE

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Something tells me that they didn't cover intangible assets in Dr. Carroll's Econ class.

thesavageorange writes:

tngeoff , I don't think it will get to quite a 1000, b/c Adams didn't write it.Adams could have put a "Pearl earned it" "Fulmer didn't" spin on it.However there were 700+ on a article about a 4* QB so who knows.Come on up before you geet mixed up in this thing.Hurry I got a cold one waitin for ya.

Vol13 writes:

Badge:

I don't disagree from a pure revenue numbers standpoint. That's never going to change, regardless of who is coaching what. But from a pure s/d standpoint, Fulmer is no threat to leave for another job at 1.6 per year than he is at 2.4. They are probably a few programs in America that would pay Pearl 2.0 right now if he wanted to entertain it. And there will be more in the near future. I wouldn't be shocked if Pearl's deal gets re-done next year or in 2010.

THANKYOU4GETTINGRIDOFTHENOTSOSLIMONE writes:

I think that President Bush desreves a raise also for all of the good things he has done the past 4 years. And also, comparing Pearl to Fulmer is ridiculous. Tennessee has turned into a basketball school under Pearl. It's drifting away from a football school under Fulmer. The day that Pearl has a preseason top 5 team and finishes with a losing record will be the day Krispy Kreme goes out of business in Knoxville.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

I am a 79 graduate of UT and am originally from B'ham, Al. I don't understand the Fulmer bashing because from my recollection he is responsible for us believing we should contend for the national championship every year. I remember losing to Alabama every year. Fulmer took over and we became a top ten team and won a NC championship. No program stays on top forever and all programs have down years. We are still at a point where our expectations are high and I believe we will win our share of championships with Fulmer as coach. I don't want to go back to where we were before Fulmer took over. Start changing coaches and we could end up like Alabama changing coaches every 4 years and stil being mediocre. Just one grads opinion!!!!!!!!!

copan07#220906 writes:

Why does the tight end position pay more than the wide receiver position? Or is the pay based on experience?

BADGES0413 writes:

Both coaches have similar records the last 2 years.

Fulmer has finished 23 and 12. Played for 1 SEC title.

Pearl has finished 16 and 16 and won 1 SEC title.

Not a lot of difference in accomplishments, just a difference in perception.

gohawks1 writes:

Heh heh. This thing's got a head of steam, fellas. No telling how far it'll go. Prepare to be amused (or irritated if it starts freezing up like it did on the earlier Fulmer article).

BADGES0413 writes:

Workin,

Tangible Assets = National Championships at UT.

Tangible Assets Fulmer = 1 Pearl = 0.

I was awake for that lecture Workin.

murrayvol writes:

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

VOLinATL writes:

I guess Coach Fulmer and Coach Pearl are going to have a really happy July 4th holiday! Kudos to both and I, for one, hope they both stay a long, ling time.

silvertr6 writes:

As each SEC team becomes more competitive, it is incresingly difficult for any team to win the KEY games, and/or away games as well. It is really surprising that coach Fulmer has incentive clauses regarding SEC championship, bowl games, etc. And yet, NOTHING big has happened lately. (SEC Championship, BCS bowl game)

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