Raising the bar

Tennessee's Pat Summitt will receive a contract extension and a pay raise that will make her the highest paid coach in women's basketball and the first millionaire coach in her sport, according to sources close to the situation.

Summitt, who has led the Lady Vols to six national championships, will have her contract negotiated to a six-year deal after Tennessee's season concludes.

Tennessee president Dr. John Peterson said he began discussions about Summitt's contract last fall with women's athletic director Joan Cronan.

Asked how Summitt would be compensated in lieu of Bruce Pearl's recent extension that will pay him $7.8 million over six years, Peterson said: ``We've got two of the best coaches in the country and we're making long-term commitments to both. At the end of the day, you and everybody else will see how we value her.''

Asked if Summitt would make the same as Pearl, Peterson said: ``No.''

Peterson said Summitt's salary will be ``in the ballpark'' with Pearl, whose average over the six-year time period is $1.3 million.

``The contracts reflect where we want to go in the future,'' Peterson said.

``During my presidency, I do not want to do basketball switches, men or women. And we'll do the right thing by them based on what's commensurate to the University. I don't think you'll be disappointed (in Summitt's deal).''

Mike Hamilton, men's athletic director, said he is confident Summitt will be treated fairly.

``I want to make it clear Pat Summitt is one of the greatest assets to the University and State and should be compensated to the height of her game,'' Hamilton said. ``I think she should be the highest paid women's coach.''

Summitt's supporters will argue that the long-time Lady Vols coach should be paid more than a first-year men's coach because of her 32 years of service, six national championships and 900-plus wins – the most of any Division I coach.

Others will point out that the Vols' program generates at least $4 million more annually in net revenues than the Lady Vols and the market value for a men's coach is significantly greater than a women's coach. For example, 35 men's coaches make at least $900,000 while 21 make at least $1 million, according to Hamilton. One women's coach makes $900,000 – Connecticut's Geno Auriemma.

Summitt makes $824,500. If she collects $85,000 for endorsements – which she has not the past two years – she would then make more than Auriemma.

On at least three occasions, Summitt has made more than the men's basketball coach at Tennessee. In 2003, Summitt made over $900,000 because she was given $85,000 for endorsements. That year, Buzz Peterson made $855,000, counting his endorsement money.

But in 2004, Peterson again made $855,000 but Summitt was not given the $85,000 endorsement money because it was not written as an addendum to her contract.

Summitt didn't get the endorsement money in 2005, either, but she made more than Peterson, who was fired, didn't get the endorsement money and collected $769,500. Of course, Peterson got a $1.39 million buyout, but Summit's UT salary was greater.

This past season, Summitt made more than Pearl, whose salary was $800,000.

Also, Summitt has collected $77,800 for her 2005 summer camps. The camps generate more than $200,000 but Summitt pays her staff and other workers a generous sum to work the camps, UT officials said.

On another matter, UT will make a third installment on the Buzz Peterson buyout this summer. The UT athletic department paid the University $400,000 July 1, 2005 and will make a $500,000 payment July 1, 2006. The third payment of $500,000 will be made July 1, 2007.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories