Indiana may hang its hat on being a basketball state — even this summer’s state fair had a hoops theme — but football rules when it comes to paying coaches at the state’s public universities.
As students return to campuses in Bloomington, Evansville, Muncie, West Lafayette and Terre Haute for the 2023-24 school year, IndyStar examined public records to determine who is being paid the most at five of Indiana’s four-year public universities.
Takeaways:What to know about top earner’s at Indiana’s public universities
Indiana University and Purdue University accounted for all 10 of the highest-paid employees — and 98 of the 100 top earners — at the state’s public universities in 2022, with coaches and administrators topping the list. Compensation totals include all wages, bonuses, severance pay, vacation pay and taxable fringe benefits as reported by the state’s Indiana Gateway database.
Former Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm topped the list of earners at public universities in 2022 at about $5.5 million.
Following close behind Brohm, IU football coach Tom Allen and men’s basketball coach Mike Woodson were their school’s top earners — pulling down $4.3 million and $3.3 million, respectively. It doesn’t show up in the 2022 pay data, but the school announced in August that Woodson will receive a $1 million bump this year.
Some of the state’s best-paid university employees weren’t even in leadership roles in 2022: Former IU men’s basketball coach Archie Miller was in the sixth spot with pay of $2.4 million as part of a buy-out, while former IU President Michael McRobbie rounded out the Top 10 at $915,705.
Teri Moren, the IU women’s basketball was the only woman to crack the Top 10. Her earnings of $932,610 put Moren in the ninth spot.
When you zoom out to the Top 100 earners in the state, the balance between sports, administration and academics evens out a little. In fact, faculty members account for the largest proportion of the 100 best-paid employees in 2022. Among faculty in that group, 45% hailed from business-related majors. Other departments represented included medical fields of study, computer science and engineering, largely from graduate programs.
Still, the analysis showed, athletics employees averaged higher amounts of compensation per person.
Purdue and Indiana also experienced the most turnover among their highest-paid employees, with several key coaches and top administrators cycling in and out of the schools over the last five years, including some since the start of 2023.
Who’s the highest-paid employee at Purdue University?
Brohm was Indiana’s highest-paid employee in 2022 at Purdue — and the entire state — earning nearly twice as much as Purdue’s next highest-paid employee, men’s basketball coach Matt Painter ($2.9 million).
That didn’t stop the longtime head football coach from leaving the program at the end of the season to join his alma mater, the Louisville Cardinals. Brohm took key members of his assistant coaching staff along to Louisville, including offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Brohm and co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Ronald English. Both assistants were also among Purdue’s top 10 earners: Brian Bohm was paid $800,184; English, $582,057.
Purdue is the only athletics department in the state that is completely independent from the university. Compensation received by coaches comes from the athletics department’s own proceeds rather than taxpayer dollars, the school’s general fund and student fees.
Other top administrators have also been a part of personnel shake-ups at Purdue. Mung Chiang replaced Mitch Daniels as president of the university at the start of 2023, while both School of Management Dean David Hummels and Provost Jay Akridge are taking the year off to go on sabbatical.
Who’s the highest-paid employee at Indiana University?
All of the 10 highest earners at IU came from its flagship Bloomington campus except for Jay Hess, the dean of the medical school in Indianapolis. He was paid a little over $1 million.
Despite being fired in March 2021, compensation for Miller, the former basketball coach, still was the third highest at the university last year. His contract included a $10.3 million buyout, funded by anonymous donors, though the total amount IU owes Miller has decreased by approximately $2.8 million since he took the head coaching job at Rhode Island University in 2022.
McRobbie is another employee still receiving money from IU after retiring from his position as president in June 2021. He’s now a chancellor, president emeritus and professor with compensation comparable to what he received during his time as president.
Who’s the highest-paid employee at Ball State University?
Ball State’s football, basketball and baseball coaches topped the list of earners on the Muncie campus. Head football coach Michael Neu led the pack, making $639,000 in 2022.
Ball State fired basketball head coach James Whitford in March 2022, though he still ranked among the 10 highest-paid employees at $287,900. Michael Lewis replaced Whitford, and Lewis’s compensation in his first year was $329,845.
Scott Trappe, a professor of Human Bioenergetics in the School of Kinesiology, is the sole faculty member on this list. He directs the school’s Human Performance Lab, which studies how exercise affects the body, and earned $296,072.
Who’s the highest-paid employee at Indiana State University?
At ISU, four women — more than any of the other schools — made the list of the 10 highest-paid employees. That includes President Deborah Curtis, who started her post in 2018 and made $366,798 last year, along with Vice Presidents Diann McKee ($231,200), Andrea Angel ($209,021) and Nancy Rogers ($187,603).
Curtis and IU’s Pamela Whitten ($829,209) are the first women to hold the top leadership position in the history of their respective universities.
Who’s the highest-paid employee at University of Southern Indiana?
The compensation ceiling at USI is the lowest out of the four-year public universities reviewed for this analysis. For instance, President Ronald Rochon was the highest-paid employee at USI, earning $309,666. But that was the least among his public university presidential peers.
Half of the highest-paid employees at USI were faculty, the most of any of the five schools. Three teach in the management and information sciences department and two teach in the accounting and finance department.
Find more state pay information in our easy-to-use database
You can see more information on pay for public university employees by checking out our online database. It also includes pay earned by many other state employees.
How pay from top earners has changed in 5 years
Presidents at Indiana’s public universities haven’t received more than $1 million in yearly compensation since before 2018 — except for IU’s McRobbie.
The former president almost tripled his prior year’s compensation in 2021, the year he stepped down at the end of June. Part of that package includes the more than $582,000 McRobbie received when IU’s Board of Trustees issued an addendum to his contract, to hire him as a consultant to new president Whitten.
Whitten received a hefty performance bonus of $162,500 in 2022 for the work she did in her first school year. This value is equivalent to about a quarter of her base salary.
Allen, IU’s head football coach, started his tenure as one of the lowest-paid coaches in the Big Ten, but received a series of raises after high-performing seasons in 2018 and 2020 that catapulted his salary upwards. A disappointing season in 2021 led to a restructuring of his salary so that it is set to decrease by $200,000 every year until 2025.
Brohm joined other top coaches at Purdue — including head basketball coach Matt Painter — in taking voluntary pay cuts in response to budget shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic, but maintained his place as Indiana’s highest-paid public university employee even during that period of time.
Contact Dow Jones Fellow Katherine Oung at [email protected] or on Twitter @kathoung.