Certainly, a boosted contract for New Mexico State men’s head basketball coach Marvin Menzies could be considered warranted.
Most would have a hard time arguing with NCAA Tournament appearances two of the past three years, or the 20-win seasons that have come.
The results are there — the Aggies have been a top-two, top-three WAC team during Menzies’ five-year tenure at the school.
When considering that, it’s reasonable to expect Menzies to be paid as such. Can NMSU pay him over $450,000 or $500,00 annually — around the amount Utah State head coach Stew Morrill reportedly makes? I don’t think NMSU can afford that.
What about some other WAC coaches from the past year? Nevada head coach David Carter reportedly made about $300,000, while Hawaii’s Gib Arnold ($344,000) and Fresno State’s Rodney Terry ($350,000) reportedly made more. Bear in mind, however, that those were recent hires, made by schools that were on the verge of leaving the WAC for the Mountain West Conference.
How about some current WAC coaches, or ones that will be joining the WAC this upcoming year? Utah State, and Morrill, remain members of the league, at least for this upcoming season. Don Verlin at Idaho reportedly made over $140,000 last year, and will make over $148,000 next season — again, base salary here, and a good bargain. While Scott Cross at Texas Arlington — a contender in the Southland Conference — made around $115,000 in 2011 (the final year of his five-year contract), Brooks Thompson of Texas-San Antonio (around $125,000 in 2011) and Doug Davalos of Texas State (around $120,000 in 2011) each made comparable to each other. With that being said, University of Denver head coach Joe Scott reportedly made a base salary of about $300,000 in 2010, while his associate head coach Mike McKee was paid $120,000.
While Menzies salary could be raised, do the Aggies have to make a move here? Well, no, they don’t.
Just because Menzies interviewed at Colorado State for the Rams head coaching position does not mean NMSU is obligated to react to such a situation — he isn’t the only head coach to gain leverage by entertaining another job opportunity.
And I’m not a big fan of doing business by looking over your neighbor’s fence — the argument could be made, when considering their resources, the Aggies need to think more outside the box in terms of allocating such resources. I, for one, think if Menzies did leave it wouldn’t have necessarily been a good thing for the hoops program — the head coach has established an identity, some winning, and the players are comfortable with the system in place. Yes, I think he’s generally happy here, and is firmly planted in his job — I think there’s some security here for him, and continued room for growth.
The bottom line for NMSU head coaches such as Menzies and football coach DeWayne Walker? Their big payday, their big raise, will come when they move onto a bigger job, and won’t necessarily come at their current one.
In Menzies’ case, if a raise does in fact happen at NMSU — and it appears it will — most of that money will be coming from the private sector. That, and bear in mind it never hurts to get added funds for your program in general — to help with recruiting, scheduling, etc. — if the coach is in fact seeking that as well.
At the end of the day, I would expect a slight boost in his base salary — between $300,000 and $350,000 annually — perhaps some added bonuses and incentives, and some increased years put onto his current deal.
Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg