Compher, Peters support Doeren extension


Northern Star File Photo

By Jimmy Johnson

The decision to give NIU football coach Dave Doeren a contract extension was discussed before the Huskies won the 2011 MAC Championship and Bowl, said NIU athletic director Jeff Compher.

Compher said the decision was also based on the fact that Doeren was not the highest paid coach in the MAC. Doeren’s contract increased by $48,996 after receiving his extension last December. Doeren signed his initial contact June 21, 2011, which paid him annually at $371,004. The contract extension Doeren received became effective Jan. 1, 2012, which pays him at an annual base salary of $420,000.

In the event the Huskies didn’t win the MAC Championship, Compher still wanted to Doeren know they appreciated what he accomplished in his first year as head coach.

“I need to be proactive,” Compher said. “I want our coach to know that this university valued him and what he had accomplished already.”

NIU President John Peters said in an email that he agreed with Compher’s strategy of planning a contract in advance for Doeren.

“As a result of the advance planning of the athletics department, NIU was able to offer the extension to coach Doeren in a timely manner, within the parameters of the athletics budget, locking up a top-notch coach and generating more excitement about the future,” Peters said in the email.

Compher said the coaches’ salaries come from NIU athletic’s budget, which ranges from “student fees, to tickets sales, to everything.”

“We kind of pool all that together, but most of our HR budget or out personnel budget is through student fees,” Compher said. “Obviously, we have to augment that with other income because it doesn’t cover it.”

Prior to receiving the extension, Doeren was already the highest paid person at NIU. According to a April 29, 2011, article from the Northern Star, Peters’ salary was $325,980. At the time, Doeren was making $45,024 more than Peters. That gap increased to $94,020 after Doeren’s extension in January.

“Contract extensions are common in the marketplace, and given the fact that NIU hired a rising star in the coaching ranks who delivered the first MAC Championship since 1983, I think we made the right choice,” Peters said.

According to an April 29, 2010, article from the Northern Star, Doeren’s predecessor, Jerry Kill, who now coaches at Minnesota, was earning a salary of $340,000. According to an April 16, 2004, article from the Northern Star, then-NIU football coach Joe Novak’s salary was $200,000.

Despite questions looming over the state of the university financially, Peters wanted to keep Doeren at the helm of the NIU football team.

“NIU is not in a poor financial situation, and again, the contract allows us to secure a highly-regarded coach for years to come within the constraints of the athletics budget,” Peters said.

Compher said in the event of other opportunities presenting themselves, he wanted to let Doeren know the university valued him.

“I felt like we needed to be competitive with the salary and let him know that even if we couldn’t make him the highest paid coach, we were going to give him a significant increase based on what he had done.”

Compher said he wanted to reward Doeren for how he handled the Devon Butler situation, hiring of his coaching staff, installing a new offense and the progress of the defense.

“There were so many accomplishments over the course of this season that we felt like he needed to be rewarded for that,” Compher said.

“We talk about athletics, but, more importantly, we act on academics as far as the kind of services we provide, the expectations we have four our student athletes, how we recruit based on our academic reputation; all of those things are very important,” Compher said. “I think it’s appropriate that we have incentives that go along with that.”

The Huskies won the MAC West division this past season, and Doeren received an additional $10,000, while $1,000 went to his assistant coaches, director of Sports Performance and director of Football Operations.

After NIU defeated Ohio 23-20 on Dec. 2, 2011, to win the 2011 MAC Championship, another incentive kicked in for Doeren, as he received $25,000, while $2,000 went to each of his assistant coaches, the director of Sports Performance and director of Football Operations.

If Doeren wins the MAC Coach or Co-Coach of the Year award, he receives an additional $25,000.