KENT: Kent State University’s Joel Nielsen’s 18 percent raise makes him the highest paid athletic director in the Mid-American Conference.
The university raised Nielsen’s base salary to $308,000 and doubled how much he can make in deferred compensation.
“I am very proud of what the coaches and student-athletes have accomplished,” Nielsen, 50, said in a media release after KSU trustees approved his raise Wednesday.
University officials applauded Nielsen for guiding the Golden Flashes to several successes.
Under him, student athletes’ grade-point average last spring was 3.11, a record high, and 61 percent of student athletes had a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
KSU’s football team went to its first bowl game in 40 years, while baseball went to the College World Series for the first time in 2012 and a KSU wrestler was the university’s first NCAA champion in 2011.
During Nielsen’s tenure, KSU athletic programs have won an unprecedented 20 conference titles, 12 NCAA team appearances and numerous NCAA individual qualifiers, KSU said in lauding Nielsen’s performance.
Nielsen joined KSU in March 2010 at a base of $225,000 and has received raises that brought that to $261,600.
His five-year contract was extended two more years to June 2017 and he will be able to depend on steady raises for the next four years. His base salary will rise $40,000 a year until it reaches $428,000 in 2016-2017.
KSU also will continue to contribute $20,000 a year to a deferred compensation plan for Nielsen until June 2015 and will credit an added $100,000 to the plan as of March 2013. Nielsen can access the full $200,000 in June 2015.
Nielsen remains the third-highest paid athletic director at a tax-supported university in Ohio, behind Gene Smith at Ohio State ($857,294) and Whit Babcock at the University of Cincinnati ($364,000). The University of Akron’s Tom Wistrcill earns a base of $243,477.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3729.