EL PASO, Texas -- UTEP's two highest-paid head coaches have yet to take salary reductions, but UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter says negotiations over the terms and final amount are "close."
Football head coach Dana Dimel and men's basketball head coach Rodney Terry have each agreed to take voluntary salary reductions to help the athletic department better balance a budget greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We work with their respective agents," Senter said. "We've continued to work through those contract amendments to be able to reduce their salaries. We still don't have that completed yet. We're getting close."
Senter will not say at this time the amount of either coach's salary reduction, but provided ABC-7 with a combined estimate of $271,200.
Terry's annual salary is $730,999 while Dimel earns $711,999 annually.
Back in September ABC-7 reported Senter said some positions in the department were being eliminated and all athletic employees would be furloughed because of the pandemic.
ABC-7 asked for more details on behalf of our viewers, but UTEP officials declined saying an open records request would be required.
ABC-7 filed that request on September 24 and received the data below.
The athletics budge analysis shows UTEP's initial revenue projection was $26,779,367. But due to shortfalls a new projection as of September 21 shows a hit of $2,704,993.
"We had budget meetings with every single budget authority that we have in athletics and said you help us prioritize what you would cut if we have to cut," Senter said. "We gave them three different scenarios -- [if we have to cut] 5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent -- where would you cut it?"
In total, UTEP athletics cut the budget by $1,653,546, including $1,115,569 worth of reduction in force via furloughs.
Nearly 100 employees were either furloughed or cut across the athletics department. Seven full-time positions were cut, including two open positions that will not be filled.
Senter says having to tell his colleagues they were either being furloughed or cut was the most difficult day he's had in the last nine months.
"There is no amount of training, I think, that gets you ready for looking at one of your colleagues in the eye and saying hey we're going to have to cut your position."
In addition to the projected salary reductions for Dimel and Terry, 74 employees took a 10-day furlough totaling a savings of $229,165. Senter is one of the 74 employees who took that furlough.
Another 13 employees took extended furloughs ranging from five weeks to six months. Total savings -- $213,533.
The athletic department also made a significant cut to the number of graduate and student assistants, trimming that number by more than half from 34 to 15.
But with a vaccine now being administered in El Paso and cases and hospitalizations on a downward trend Senter is optimistic UTEP weathered an unimaginable storm.
"I think there is a lot of pent up interest and frustration and encouraging momentum out there. I don't think it'll be years, but there's no question it's going to take some time to get back to where we were."