WJTV News Channel 12 - ETSU football coach to make $240,000 in salary and stipends,

ETSU football coach to make $240,000 in salary and stipends, gets two country club memberships

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East Tennessee State University's new football coach will take home $160,000 a year in salary, a combined $80,000 in stipends, plus memberships to two area county clubs.

After a public records request, we learned Coach Carl Torbush's contract is worth more than three times as much as ETSU's previous football coach - most of it paid for by a new $250 annual student fee.

Of course, 10 years have passed since then. Still, it's clear ETSU is more committed to its football program and expanding the university brand today than it was a decade ago.

ETSU selected Torbush after a national search of roughly 200 candidates for the head football coaching job. The coach has yet signed his five-year contract, but when it goes into effect on July 8th, these are some of the terms negotiated:

1) A $160,000 a year base salary;

2) A $40,000 annual stipend for media responsibilities, such as appearing on radio and TV coach's shows, promoting the men's football program and athletic department and negotiating greater TV exposure for ETSU football;

3) A $40,000 annual stipend for his role in building community relations and fundraising by cultivating relationships with athletics donors, civic and business leaders, and capital campaign projects, appearing at alumni and community events, playing in local philanthropic golf tournaments as requested, speaking at local civic clubs on behalf of the athletic department, Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association and facilities capital campaign, participating in fundraising efforts for the football program including the development of new facilities;

4) Memberships to The Ridge's Country Club ($16,000 value) and Johnson City Country Club ($3,000 value) funded through the ETSU Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association; coach pays usage fees;

5) $125,000 bonus at the end of contract contingent upon the completion of the full five years;

ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Dick Sander, who himself will receive roughly a $204,000 annual salary, says the university is lucky to have Coach Torbush.  He says the university feels the new coach is worth every penny - especially considering this is a huge job. According to Dr. Sander, Torbush's contract is comparable to other coaches across the country with similar backgrounds.

"We think that this is probably a lot bigger job than just being a football coach," Dr. Sander said. "This is kind of being the chief PR guy for this university.  We're excited to have Carl Torbush leading the program. He's a quality man. As people get to know him, I think people will really appreciate his values, the way that he deals with student-athletes."

The university expects the new coach to start the program from scratch, attend roughly 500 special events over the next two years, order equipment, recruit, help design a football stadium and facilities and hire coaches - all before even playing a single game. Dr. Sander says that workload coupled with the coach's experience make him a valuable asset to the university.

"This is somebody who has coached at the highest level," Dr. Sander said. "He's been the head coach at the University of North Carolina, which I think is pretty significant. He was the defensive coordinator at Alabama, probably the best program in the country. (He worked at) Texas A&M, Ole Miss, places like that. I think there's tremendous value in that. All of the expertise that Coach Torbush brings to ETSU, I think that value we felt kind of paralleled what the salary is."

The times have changed since ETSU last had football in 2003. Still, for comparison's sake, we also requested former coach Paul Hamilton's last contract signed in 2001.

Coach Hamilton's terms included:

1) $84,320 a year base salary

2) No stipends

3) Bonus provisions paid for by the Pirate Club, an arm of the ETSU Foundation including $5,000 for winning a NCAA Championship, $2,500 for a playoff win and $2,500 for winning the Southern Conference Championship

"I don't know what they did," Dr. Sander said about that contract. "I guess 12 years ago that's why they dropped football. For one way or another, it didn't work."

According to Dr. Sander, Torbush's contract is similar to that of ETSU Men's Basketball Coach Murry Bartow's contract. Compared to football coaches in the Southern Conference, Torbush's contract is near the top.

"If we had to look at it, it probably wouldn't be the highest salary in the Southern Conference, but it might be pretty close and that's kind of where we wanted to go," Dr. Sander said. "We don't particularly want a level playing field. We want to have an advantage when we go in there, so that's one of the things we're trying to do is to create a situation where we have the resources necessary to not only compete but to win in the Southern Conference. We didn't start this program to be mediocre. We started this program to win and be very, very successful."

ETSU reminds people, even if you're not a football fan; the initiative is going to help all students, the university as a whole and the community. ETSU says the goal is to brand the university, improve student life and make the community a better place to live.

For one, Dr. Sander says football will bring in 500 new students who wouldn't normally attend the university, a $10 million revenue generator. Those students will include students who will play football, members of a marching band and students who will play three or four new woman's sports the university will add in the future, Dr. Sander said.

"As we build this brand of this university, I think (football) greatly enhance everybody's degree," Dr. Sander said. "This is a university initiative that has been very well thought out and has a lot of implications for a lot of different things."

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