WSU admins among best-paid state workers

DONNA BLANKINSHIP | The Associated Press

The football coaches at the UW and WSU were the best-paid state employees in 2013.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian earned more than $2.6 million in 2013 before quitting late in the year to coach at Southern California. WSU coach Mike Leach earned more than $2.3 million, according to data posted online Monday by the state Office of Financial Management.

The only other state employee listed with a salary over $1 million is UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, who earned nearly $1.9 million in 2013. His counterpart at WSU, Ken Bone, who lost his job in 2014, earned $870,143 in 2013.

The top-paid state employee who isn’t a football or basketball coach is UW athletic director Scott Woodward, who earned $692,323 last year.

Next on the list is WSU President Elson S. Floyd with a salary of $662,560. Then comes Keith Ferguson, chief investment officer of the UW, at $623,700.

UW President Michael Young doesn’t appear on the top-salary list until No. 11, with a salary of $571,380. His predecessor was not only one of the top state earners in Washington but also one of the highest-paid college presidents in the nation.

The searchable database offers four years of data for those who want to track raises over time. It can be sorted by job title, salary range and name.

Although coaches are listed on the database along with office workers and college professors, they are not paid out of the same pot of state money.

Athletic department revenue, such as ticket sales and television rights or gifts, covers the coaches’ salaries.

Randy Hodgins, the UW vice president for external affairs, said he likes to remind people that taxpayer dollars do not pay the football coach’s salary.

Rather than comment on sports salaries at the top of the list again, Hodgins said he would prefer to say the university is grateful to the state Legislature for providing more money for higher education this year.

“So we didn’t have to make any reductions, and so we could keep student tuition increases at zero percent two years in a row,” he said.