Board of Regents Executive Committee approves Taggart’s contract

Brad Stephens

Head Coach Willie Taggart is one step closer to a big new payday.

The Executive Committee of the WKU Board of Regents unanimously passed Taggart’s new contract on Friday, setting the stage for a full Board vote on his deal on Jan. 20, 2012 at the Regents’ next scheduled meeting.

Taggart’s revised contract, which was announced by the university on Dec. 7, increased his annual base salary from $225,000 to $475,000 and included an extension through 2019.

The deal would make Taggart WKU’s highest-paid employee.

The deal also includes performance-based incentives which would cause his base salary to increase by another 15 percent if his Toppers win eight games in a season.

Athletics Director Ross Bjork briefly addressed the Executive Committee before its vote, saying Taggart’s revised contract was an important step in continuing to build the WKU football program.

The Toppers went 7-5 in 2011, Taggart’s second year on the job.

WKU’s winning record was its first since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision and Sun Belt Conference as a full member in 2009.

Following the vote, Faculty Regent Patti Minter, who does not serve on the Executive Committee, said the Board needs to keep faculty morale in mind when voting on Taggart’s contract at the January meeting.

She said most of the faculty with whom she’s spoken have been “demoralized” over Taggart’s pay raise and that faculty merit raises have been few and far in between.

“If our funding formula right now is retention and graduation-based… WKU has to make the academic mission and the faculty that execute it our priority,” Minter said.