Crean’s Wade-ing in unprecedented salary

For a coach who only has led his team past the first round of the NCAA tournament once in seven seasons of pacing the sideline, Crean is compensated like a coach who has won a national title.,”The day after Marquette announced men's basketball coach Tom Crean's contract extension that runs through the 2016-'17 season, Crean was out of the office recruiting. He should have been out celebrating.

For a coach who only has led his team past the first round of the NCAA tournament once in seven seasons of pacing the sideline, Crean is compensated like a coach who has won a national title.

Common sense, experience and the numbers show that Crean is not yet one of the elite coaches in the country, so he should not be paid like one for the next 10 years.A

In its most recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service, the university reported paying Crean $1,688,487. This represents his total compensation package and covers everything from his expense account to his summer basketball camps, according to Director of University Communication Brigid O'Brien Miller. Financial terms of Crean's contract extension were not released on Sept. 19, but it's a good bet his salary will be at least $1.69 million per season.

Before coming to Marquette in March 1999, Crean was the associate head coach under Tom Izzo at Michigan State. In July 2004, Izzo began a seven-year contract extension with Michigan State that pays him $1.61 million per year. That figure does not include the two vehicles he gets to use, the country club membership or the performance and contingency bonuses — which can escalate into millions of dollars.

Even though Crean's and Izzo's yearly salaries are similar, their coaching resumes do not have much in common.

Since the 1999-'00 season, Izzo has won a national title, guided his team to the Final Four two other times, built a 24-12 postseason record and compiled a .710 winning percentage (167-68).

In that same time, Crean guided Marquette to one Final Four appearance, built a 9-13 postseason record and compiled a .650 winning percentage (141-76). But subtract Dwyane Wade's two seasons at Marquette and Crean's teams are winless in the NCAA tournament, 3-9 in postseason play and win .582 percent of games (88-63).

In defense of Crean's salary, university spokeswoman Mary Pat Pfeil issued a statement published in the March 14 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this year. She said in part, "The university makes fair and competitive compensation a key priority in attracting high quality faculty and staff in all areas."

The numbers show otherwise.

In the same Journal Sentinel story, Big East Senior Associate Commissioner John Marinatto said, "Crean was in the upper echelon of highly compensated coaches in the 16-team conference." The 990 tax forms filed by Big East member schools (see chart) give credence to this statement.

Yet university faculty members do not receive the same sort of "fair and competitive compensation."

According to the most recent numbers compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average full professor at Marquette receives $100,300 per academic year. That is $4,631.25 less than the average full professor salary among Big East schools (see chart).

As eye-catching as Crean's contract might be, it's hard to blame him for signing on the dotted line. It makes sense to renew. In a profession ripe with turnover, the university made a rare and lucrative offer.

It is much harder to defend the university's decision to approach Crean with such an exorbitant contract.A A