We like Herb Sendek (pictured) and how he's taken a beaten-down ASU men's basketball program up a notch in the past few years, thanks in large part to his now-departed superstar James Harden. guys always play hard and, at times last year, well enough to compete with all but the very best college teams in the land.
ASU won 25 games last season, and earned its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2003, when Rob Evans still was coaching. The Sun Devils remained in the Associated Press Top 25 all season, a nice first for the program.
For Sendek's efforts last season (his third at the helm of the Tempe school), the coach was paid $929,250, a nice piece of change.
Now comes word that the 46-year-old coach is about to get a one-year contract extension (through the end of June 2014), and his already hefty salary will increase to $1.1 million for next season and $1.2 million in July 2010.
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In better economic times, we wouldn't have a huge quarrel with Coach Herb getting a 200K bump, especially in light of reports claiming that the University of Arizona's new coach, Sean Miller, will be collecting a whopping $2 million a year (making Miller the highest paid basketball coach in the Pac-10).
But here's our bitch: Like most other institutions of higher learning (insert joke here), ASU's bosses have been crying the blues since the economy noticeably started its downward spiral a few years ago. Cutbacks at Arizona's three state universities have made headlines with increasing frequency, as have the inevitable tuition hikes and other assorted woes.
So, isn't the basketball coach -- the basketball coach, mind you, not the professor over at the lab working on a cure for something -- taking home enough money (we're not counting Sendek's lucrative endorsement packages) for the time being?
Sure he is. Again, we like the dude and think he's a hell of a coach. But, please...