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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, June 20, 2003

Regents set to give Jones big pay boost

 •  Cal Lee Joins Warrior staff

By Stephen Tsai and Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writers


With no sign of opposition on the horizon, the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents is poised to make head football coach June Jones the state's highest-paid employee today when it takes final action on his contract.

The board will vote on the matter this morning at its monthly meeting at the UH-Manoa Campus Center, and people involved expressed little concern it would get derailed.

Yesterday morning, the board's Committee on Personnel and Legal Affairs forwarded the issue to today's agenda, where the full board will vote.

The regents and administration officials said they would be prepared to make statements today following the vote.

When the contract is approved, Jones will become the state's highest-paid employee with a five-year contract valued at between $700,000 and $1 million annually. Jones has seven months remaining on a five-year contract that pays him $320,000 annually.

Jones, 50, a former UH assistant coach, is 31-20 in four seasons since leaving the National Football League, where he had been a head coach for parts of four seasons. He has led the Warriors to two bowl appearances. He did not attend the meetings.

The new contract, which is said to include incentive clauses, would raise his compensation package beyond that of UH president Evan Dobelle and Edwin Cadman, dean of the medical school. Dobelle's package is worth $442,000 annually while Cadman has a base of $330,000 and can receive additional money surpassing Dobelle.

J.N. Musto, executive director of the UH Professional Assembly, the faculty union, said he is interested in how Jones' new contract will be paid.

"Certainly if (Jones) is able to make additional money by his efforts in the private sector that is fine," Musto said. "But if this is a substantial reallocation of public funds again — funds from the state of Hawai'i or tuition dollars — I think this time particularly we shouldn't be doing it. If it comes out of the profits of other things or from TV for running sports programming, that's different."

Musto added: "We certainly want a good, strong athletic program, but we want one that is commensurate with the fundamental goals and mission of the university."

UH athletic director Herman Frazier, who proposed the new contract to the board and attended yesterday's meeting, declined to comment on the specifics of the proposal until the board votes on the matter. But he reiterated that the majority of Jones' pay will come from private donors.

When asked if the ticket-price hikes for football or other sports would help subsidize Jones' new contract, Frazier said, "Absolutely not. Not at all. Not even remotely close. I can say that completely."

But Frazier declined to identify the donors, their pledge amounts or even the number of donors involved. He said their pledges are binding, even if he leaves during Jones' tenure.

"Those are contracts with (the donors and the school)," Frazier said.

Frazier has said that the proposal calls for a new contract for Jones, not an extension of the existing one.

If approved, Jones would receive a raise July 1 and, after this season, have four seasons remaining on his contract.

UH officials refused to say whether the contract contains a so-called "conduct" clause. Frazier and administrative officials have said they are studying potential provisions that could be incorporated into future athletic department contracts.

Jones' nine assistant coaches are in line for raises in their contracts at a later date.

The athletic department will pay for those raises through self-generated funds.