University of Pittsburgh men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon received a pay increase of $615,506 -- more than the total annual compensation of all but a handful of Pitt employees, tax records made available Friday show.
The 34 percent raise pushed Mr. Dixon's total earnings above $2.4 million and is reflected in the latest federal IRS form 990 filed by the university. The document generally covers the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, though pay information listed on it is for calendar year 2011 and is the most current available, officials said.
Among Pitt officers, directors, trustees and key employees included in this year's filing, four of the five highest paid were in athletics, continuing a trend of recent years. In fact, the university's chancellor, Mark Nordenberg, whose compensation totaled $764,296, finished outside Pitt's top five earners.
Pitt, like other research universities, faces economic strains on multiple fronts. Mr. Nordenberg is quoted in this week's Pitt-published University Times as telling a campus budget planning panel that creating a university spending plan for the upcoming year "will not be easy" given federal, state and local fiscal pressures, including a state appropriation significantly smaller than a few years ago.
Asked how those pressures square with the size of some Pitt paychecks, including Mr. Dixon's compensation and raise, Pitt spokesman Robert Hill said in a prepared statement:
"The coach's annual salary is determined by contractual obligation. Coach Dixon is one of the most successful college coaches in the NCAA, and he is an outstanding role model for the athletes and representative of the university on the national stage."
Mr. Dixon's total compensation was listed on the 990 as $2,445,682. It included base pay of $1,350,020, bonus and incentive compensation of $925,862, other reportable compensation of $25,260, retirement and other deferred compensation of $129,400 and non-taxable benefits of $15,140.
His earnings the previous year totaled just over $1.8 million.
Mr. Dixon's earnings could grow yet again, significantly, in the near future.
In March of this year, after the period covered by the latest form 990, Pitt announced that Mr. Dixon had signed another contract extension, this one through 2023. The university said in announcing it that Mr. Dixon, 47, intends to finish his career at the university.
Officials at the time would say only that the extension would raise his compensation above $2 million, although it appears he already had crossed that threshold. In recent years, he has turned down jobs with a number of major programs.
The second-highest earner at Pitt last year was former head football coach Todd Graham at $1,982,793. His total compensation included base pay of $1,010,120, bonus and incentive compensation of $916,399, other reportable compensation of $18,619, retirement and other deferred compensation of $27,973 and non-taxable benefits of $9,682.
Pitt's third-highest paid last year, at $1,296,065, was another former head football coach Dave Wannstedt. His earnings for the year included $14,159 in base pay, bonus and incentive compensation of $1,275,600, other reportable compensation of $2,048, retirement and other deferred compensation of $3,619, and non-taxable benefits of $639.
The fourth-highest paid was Arthur Levine, senior vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the medical school, at $846,748. The total included $743,544 in base pay, $69,781 in other reportable compensation, retirement and other deferred compensation of $29,402, and non-taxable benefits of $4,021.
Fifth-highest paid was athletic director Steve Pederson. His total compensation of $844,008 included base pay of $500,161, bonus and incentive compensation of $283,333, other reportable compensation of $10,674, retirement and other deferred compensation of $35,525 and $14,315 in non-taxable benefits.
Bill Schackner: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG.