Florida State’s Norvell, Hamilton accept pay reductions

Florida State football coach Mike Norvell, men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton and women’s basketball coach Sue Semrau have accepted 10 percent base salary pay cuts, the university confirmed Friday.

The cuts are part of Florida State’s 20 percent trimming of the athletic department budget due to the coronavirus pandemic. Athletic director David Coburn explained the cuts and rationale in a letter to athletic department employees that was obtained by multiple media entities.

“I am personally heartbroken over the impact this pandemic has had on our employees, and I am disappointed that I must give you this discouraging news today,” Coburn wrote in Friday’s letter. “However, I am sure you have seen that other athletic departments around the country are also making reductions.”

Coburn said he is accepting a “substantial pay reduction” but he didn’t indicate the percentage in the letter.

Coburn broke down the pay cuts as 10 percent for employees making $150,000 or more; 7.5 percent for employees making between $72,000 and $149,999, and 5 percent for those between $43,000 and $71,999.

Norvell is entering his first season after being lured away from Memphis with a six-year, $26.5 million package. Hamilton made $2.25 million in base salary last season, according to USA Today’s basketball coaches salary database.

Coburn also said that 25 full-time jobs in the athletic department were eliminated. He said furloughs are also likely as the department is bracing for major upheaval due to the COVID-19 situation.

“The probability that the upcoming athletic seasons will be affected in some way by the pandemic exists,” Coburn wrote. “While we have been able to withstand most of the economic impact from the lost revenue this spring, the anticipated drop in revenue this fall will be damaging.”

The budget crisis comes eight months after the school fired then-football coach Willie Taggart just 21 games into a six-year, $30 million contract. Coburn said at the time of the dismissal that Taggart’s buyout was $18 million.

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