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Civic Skinny

Ferentz gets $100,000 raise; Rhoads misses $200,000 bonus

11/28/2012

Don’t feel too bad for Kirk Ferentz. Sure, the stony-faced, gum-chewing University of Iowa football coach won only four games this fall, giving the Hawkeyes their worst season since 2000. And sure his team isn’t going to a bowl game for only the second time in 12 years. And sure his team lost the final six games. And sure his department seems to have badly screwed up the rehiring and non-firing of an academic adviser who allegedly was interested in more than the boys’ brains.    

But the nation’s sixth-highest-paid football coach still will get a $100,000 raise next year for his work this year in leading the Hawkeyes to a 4-8 overall record and a 2-6 record in the Big Ten or Big 13 or Big 14, or whatever it is.                 

The coach has a “contract” — that is, a one-way employment agreement that binds the university to him but not him to the university — through the 2020 season. Under the deal, which was updated two years ago, he’ll have base pay of $2,020,000 next season, up $50,000 from this year. He’ll get another $425,000 just for sticking around, a “longevity incentive” that is payable on Jan. 31. That’s also up $50,000 from this year. And he’ll get another $1,480,000 in “annual supplemental compensation,” which he gets each year, win or lose. All that comes to nearly $4 million, which is enough to keep a guy well supplied with Bubble Yum.              

Still, he left a lot on the table by having a crappy season. And he cost his assistants a lot of money, perhaps. The pay of nine of Ferentz’s assistants is memorialized in his contract, and it appears they will get no contractual raises next year, though it will be worth checking the state pay lists in a year or so to see how they got around that. If Iowa had won six games and gotten a bowl invitation, the assistants would have gotten 8 percent raises and, depending on the bowl bid, bonuses of one to three months’ salary.                 

Ferentz himself would have gotten another $350,000 if the team had finished in the top five and $125,000 if it finished in the top 25 — and $1 million if the team had been named national champion. He’d have gotten another $250,000 for a Big Ten championship or $175,000 for being Big Ten co-champ. And toss in another $100,000 or $250,000 for going to a bowl; the amount would have been determined by which bowl the team went to. Also, if Ferentz had been named coach of the year by any of at least 14 sports organizations, he would have pocketed another $100,000.                 

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So, with all that money left on the table the Coach might decide to wait a year before buying a new car. Oh, never mind. His contract provides two cars “for exclusive use of head coach and spouse,” along with “reasonable and appropriate automobile insurance.” And if the Ferentzes want to forget about not playing on New Year’s, they can always use some of the 35 hours of private-jet time they get to fly off to St. Bart’s or Kauai or someplace. …               

Paul Rhoads, the Iowa State University coach, also will get an automatic $100,000 raise next year, bringing his base to $1,700,000. He’ll get another $100,000 for taking his team to a bowl. But he left $200,000 on the field Friday when Iowa State lost to West Virginia, depriving the Cyclones of a seventh regular-season victory — a number that triggers a $200,000 bonus for Rhoads any year the Cyclone hit it. …                 

The University of Iowa apparently didn’t announce it, but Tysen Kendig, hired two years ago as vice president of strategic communications, is leaving to become vice president for communications (presumably nonstrategic as well as strategic) at the University of Connecticut. State records show he is getting $214,000 a year at Iowa. At Connecticut, according to the Hartford Courant, he’ll get $227,500.                 

The University of Connecticut press release said Kendig helped Iowa “reposition its public message for the digital age, aggressively pursuing new strategies in multimedia content and social media as well as more traditional platforms.” Meanwhile, the university continues to pursue old strategies of stonewalling when its employees do outrageous things — as when an academic adviser is accused of inappropriately touching students.                

Kendig’s resignation leaves an opening on the board of Iowa Public Radio, where one of the seven board seats belongs to the University of Iowa. It’s an important appointment as the public radio network continues its strategy of weaning itself from funding by the three Regents universities. …                 

It turns out that Bob Brownell, who has a deft political touch as a Polk County supervisor, also has a deft touch as a writer. He has just published “Our Fathers Day — A Baseball Card from the Plains,” a fictionalized version of the memories of Mike McGonegle and the kid baseball team he played on in Vincent, Iowa, in 1961. “Feel free to tell your friends to go to Amazon or Beaverdale Books for their very own edition…in fact, buy several!” Brownell says. (“Nothing against Barnes, Target or Wal-Mart,” he adds, “I’m just trying to support a nice local bookstore right here in Des Moines,” even though it isn’t in his political district.)                 

Amazon prices Brownell’s book at $8, and as of Friday it was No. 304,477 on the Amazon best-seller list, though “best-seller” might be stretching it. But Brownell should take heart. “The Adversity Paradox: An Unconventional Guide to Achieving Uncommon Business Success,” by Barry Griswell and Bob Jennings, is No. 1,341,370 on the Amazon list. Still, when it comes to uncommon success, Shawn Johnson bests them all. Her “Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams” is No. 1,069.                 

Johnson is also much better on the balance beam than either Brownell or Griswell.

Brownell, who has been attending Writer’s Workshop sessions at the University of Iowa, is well into his next book, a novel called “The Storm Next Tuesday.” …                

The scene is set for some big battles over money in the coming Legislature. The state is awash in money. Net tax receipts rose $58.2 million, or 11.8 percent, in October, compared with October 2011, according to the Legislative Services Agency. Revenue in the 12 months ended Oct. 30 is up 8.5 percent, a growth rate that is the highest in more than five years. Revenue in the three major categories — individual income taxes, corporate incomes taxes and sales taxes — is up sharply.                 

All this will give Democrats fodder to put more money into education and mental-health care and aid for the helpless and the hapless and the hopeless. And it will give Republicans arguments for cutting taxes, especially property taxes on businesses. It could get pretty interesting.

For the record, Democrats named Pam Jochum president of the Senate to succeed the retiring Jack Kibbie. And Republican Senate Minority Leader Jerry Behn is out, and Bill Dix is in. Dix tried for the spot last year, attempting a coup against Paul McKinley, but that failed. McKinley eventually resigned and senators put Behn in the job.                 

Dix is a former board member of the very conservative Iowans For Tax Relief, and the group contributed $62,500 to his campaign in 2010. …

And you think you had a bad day? One missed tackle in the fourth quarter cost Paul Rhoads $200,000. CV

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