UW, WSU coaches earn highest state salaries

THE OLYMPIANMay 22, 2013 

Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian, left, and Washington State coach Mike Leach meet at midfield before the Apple Cup Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Pullman, Wash.

DEAN RUTZ — The Seattle Times

Just as he was the previous two years, University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian was the top paid employee on the Washington state government’s payroll in 2012.

Sarkisian earned $2.7 million last year. While most state employees saw 3 percent reductions in pay and hours worked since July 2011, his pay was up from $1.98 million in 2010 and $2.53 million in 2011.

Athletic coaches also took the next three spots in 2012. Washington State University football coach Mike Leach ranked No. 2 at $2.275 million. UW men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar was No. 3, earning $1.35 million, and Washington State University men’s basketball coach Ken Bone came in fourth at $855,128.

Rounding out the top six were WSU president Elson Floyd at $625,023 and UW president Michael Young at $563,453.

The Office of Financial Management, which released the database, noted that UW and WSU coaches’ salaries are paid out of athletic department funds — which include the proceeds from selling tickets and television rights to games — not by taxpayer dollars.

University researchers, who are also near the top of the list, are paid through research grants, not taxes or tuition. Of the top 68 earners in all branches of government earning $300,000 or more, the lion’s share work in higher education.

The top general-government agency salary went to Gary Bruebaker, chief investment officer for the State Investment Board, which manages roughly $68 billion in pension and other funds for state and local government. Bruebaker earned $358,346 last year, up from $303,582 in 2010. Bruebaker’s salary is paid out of investment earnings and not from taxpayer dollars.

By contrast, former Gov. Chris Gregoire earned $161,892 in 2012 — after forfeiting a portion of her pay when other state workers’ pay was cut.

Under the state constitution, pay for statewide elected officials, legislators and judges is set by a citizens commission.

Brad Shannon: 360-753-1688

bshannon@theolympian.com

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