The compensation package of Penn State University’s top earner took a bit of a hit last year but not enough to knock him from the top of the school’s payroll.
Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno’s total compensation package totaled a little more than $1.02 million last year, down from $1.1 million the previous year, according to an annual Right-to-Know report released recently by the school.
Still, Paterno remains Penn State highest-paid employee, just ahead of Harold Paz, the CEO of Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center, at about $1.01 million.
The figures include salary, any bonuses and other reportable compensation. The biggest decline in Paterno’s compensation came in the last category, down about 20 percent to roughly $435,000. His base salary was $554,000.
The report also included deferred compensation, which includes nontaxable benefits and contributions to retirement plans including the state employees retirement system.
Paterno’s salary was once one of college football’s most closely-guarded secrets until his base salary was made public several years ago as part of an open records request of state retirement data initiated by the Patriot News of Harrisburg.
The compensation for Paterno, who’s entering a record 46th season as head coach, pales in comparison to many of college football’s other well-known coaches. For instance, Alabama pays Nick Saban more than $4.6 million a year, while Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops earns roughly $3.9 million.
The Penn State open records report doesn’t include compensation from outside the university that top coaches typically collect, like endorsement deals.
University President Graham Spanier made about $813,000.
Also on the list of 12 top earners at the school was former basketball coach Ed DeChellis, who had made nearly $807,000 in 2010, about $100,000 more than the previous year. DeChellis resigned last week to take the same position at Navy.
DeChellis, who was under contract at Penn State until 2014, said last week in announcing his departure that neither salary nor his contract was a factor for jumping from a power conference program to a Patriot League school. DeChellis said he found a “calling” in working for the Naval Academy.
“It’s not about an extension, it’s about what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “I can’t say that enough. It’s what the Naval Academy offered me and my family in this point in my career.”
Athletic director Tim Curley has said Penn State would pay a “competitive salary” to find the right candidate.