Taggart’s contract up for final approval at Jan. 20 Regents meeting

Jonathan Lintner

In addition to Head Coach Willie Taggart’s new contract, WKU’s Board of Regents will vote for final approval Friday on raises for two of Taggart’s staffers at its first quarterly meeting.

According to the meeting agenda, special teams coordinator and linebackers coach Karl Maslowski is in line to receive a nearly $14,000 raise from his previous $41,520 salary to $55,008. Director of football operations Sharrod Everett is also up for a raise, from $45,504 to $50,508.

The effective date for Maslowski’s raise was July 1, 2011. Everett’s pay began Oct. 1, 2011.

Maslowski’s new deal is one of eight on the Regents’ agenda of $5,000 or more along with an employee apiece from WKU’s athletics compliance and ticket operations offices.

Senior Associate Athletic Director Todd Stewart said Maslowski’s raise “was done prior to last season to get his pay level consistent with what our other coaches were making, because he was well below the other assistants.”

As for assistants’ raises in 2012, Stewart said Taggart has a pool of money but hasn’t yet allocated it or determined how he will do so.

WKU overcame an 0-4 start to its 2011 season to finish 7-5, marking the largest one-year turnaround in Sun Belt Conference history. The Toppers went 2-10 in Taggart’s first season at WKU.

Athletics Director Ross Bjork said in November, when announcing Taggart would receive a new deal, that he was also looking to secure the staff.

“That’s what you have to do,” Bjork said. “We were prepared to do that even before we won seven games.”

Should his new contract pass, Taggart will become WKU’s highest-paid employee with a deal that pays a $475,000 base salary through 2019 and is loaded with incentives.

President Gary Ransdell has recommended the contract’s approval, according to the agenda, and the Board of Regents’ Executive Committee previously approved the new deal in December.

A raise from Taggart’s original $225,000 salary drew mixed reactions from WKU’s Regents.

“At the end of the day,” said Staff Regent James Kennedy in December, “I see this as WKU investing in its future, protecting an asset and keeping the ball rolling with a positive football program.”

But Faculty Regent Patti Minter said a 111 percent raise in Taggart’s base salary demonstrates that WKU values entertainment over education during a period in which faculty have seen sparse raises.

Minter said in December that she’d like to see Taggart’s contract modified to “something that’s not insulting to the other employees” before the Regents’ vote.