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Eight Tennessee football coaches turn down pay cuts

Oct 10, 2020; Athens, Georgia, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt shakes hands with members of the Georgia Bulldogs after Georgia defeated Tennessee at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Eight members of the Tennessee football staff have rejected pay cuts proposed by the school to help compensate for financial losses due to COVID-19.

According to a public records request by Knox News, eight staff members were asked to take pay cuts and declined, including the following:

  • Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney
  • Defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley
  • Offensive line coach Will Friend
  • Quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke
  • Inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer
  • Outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton
  • Tight ends coach Joe Osovet
  • Strength and conditioning coach A.J. Artis

In fact, the only assistant coaches to accept pay cuts were wide receivers coach Tee Martin – who coached at Kentucky from 2010 to 2011 – and running backs coach Jay Graham.

Knox News is reporting that the UT athletic department is anticipating a $40 million loss in revenue during this fiscal year, “largely because of a pandemic-induced reduction in football revenue.”

Beyond the assistants, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was reportedly not asked to take a pay cut because he did not accept a raise in 2020 when he signed an extension with the program back in September. As a result, the school considered that to be Pruitt’s contribution to its plan to recover loss funds during COVID-19.

UT athletics director Phillip Fulmer, who makes $900,000 annually, is currently taking the biggest pay cut among staff members at 15%. That went into effect on Nov. 1. He will also waive all incentive-based compensation he’s eligible for through June 30.

Deputy AD Reid Sigmon also opted to forgo a $15,000 raise he was due on May 1, keeping his salary at $315,000.

“I am very grateful to all the athletic department employees and families that have taken a salary reduction and are showing support to our department during such a difficult time,” Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement to Knox News. “They have helped prevent the need to eliminate positions as we continue to battle this pandemic and its medical and financial implications.

“Unfortunately, there were some contract employees who did not agree to a reduction for their own reasons. But I am especially appreciative of all our head coaches and staff members who are doing their part for the greater good of the department.”

This brings us back to 2009 when former Connecticut basketball head coach Jim Calhoun was asked by a reporter if he would take a voluntary pay cut during difficult financial times for the state.

“Not a dime back,” Calhoun infamously told free-lance journalist Ken Krayeske.

“You’re not really that stupid, are you? My best advice to you: shut up.”

Not a dime back.

(Knox News)

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

10 Comments for Eight Tennessee football coaches turn down pay cuts



  1. Jayy
    2:35 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

    Good for them, should be up to the coaches IMO. UT should have had something in their contract to reduce their pay from a pandemic. Wondering if the professors are taking pay cuts.



  2. City shuffle
    2:45 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

    No duh. I imagine the conversation goes a little like “Hey we know contractually we agreed on this, but will you do the same job for less than agreed upon because we didn’t balance our finances?” “Uhh… no.”



    • City shuffle
      2:49 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

      100% take advantage of the opportunity, restructure you contract. Take less short term, increase your buyout, and more to the back half of your contract.



  3. 2andToodleLoo
    2:49 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

    Did any UK coaches take cuts? Athletic director? President?



    • bddfromcincy
      7:15 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

      Making me reply to you. What’s the $40 million shortfall compared against? Projection? I doubt it’s an actual loss meaning the university had to cough up $40 mill or the state of TN had to got to it’s legislature to raise taxes on its residents to pay for UT football. Likely a shortfall in projected revenue yet the university already spent the money on projects, etc.



  4. peaches76
    3:34 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

    I’m just wildly guessing there were no clauses in their contracts relating to a world pandemic?



  5. blueballs80
    3:37 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

    I had to take a temporary pay cut and didn’t have a choice. That’s corporate America for you. It’s nice they have the option to decline that.



  6. Ryan Lemonds Toupee
    3:41 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

    Because they’re all getting whacked after the season



    • BobbyBlue
      5:55 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah, some of those guys are going to take the bullet for their inept head coach,and be fired,so he can keep his job for another season.



  7. UKCatAttack
    6:07 pm November 13, 2020 Permalink

    Considering they didn’t ask the head coach to sacrifice salary I would’ve said no too.