It may be the most deserved extension handed out in the Washington State Cougars athletic department in quite some time. WSU announced today that athletic director Pat Chun had agreed to a one-year extension of his contract, which now runs through 2026. The extension was first reported by Pete Thamel at Yahoo Sports.
Chun’s new salary will be $700,000 per year, increasing by $50,000 per year through 2025. There are also other, undisclosed incentives for fundraising, retention, and fiscal management.
“My family and I are grateful to President (Kirk) Schulz and the Board of Regents for their continued leadership and support,” said Chun in the school’s media release. “It is an honor be a part of the WSU family and to serve an extraordinary group of student-athletes who continue to achieve academically and athletically. A culture of excellence has been established by our coaches and staff and we are now poised and positioned to reach new heights in the coming years.”
The news of Chun’s extension and raise comes on the heels of nervous weeks for Coug fans. Chun was first tied to the athletic director opening with the Kansas Jayhawks, something a source flatly denied was the case to the Spokesman Review’s Theo Lawson. Just weeks later, Chun was linked to the Northwestern Wildcats athletic director position by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News. Chun did reportedly interview for the job but either withdrew his candidacy or Northwestern moved on.
Given all that, it’s hardly a surprise to see today’s news. Though it won’t prevent Chun from interviewing for other jobs and he’s still likely not a WSU lifer, an eventual $900,000 per year salary at a fairly low pressure job might incentivize him to say no a bit more forcefully to other schools that come calling.
“Pat has done an exceptional job of leading our athletics program during the past three years,” President Schulz said in the release. “He has proven himself to be one of the nation’s most influential Power 5 athletic directors, guiding Cougar Athletics to success not only in athletic competition, but also in the classroom, in fundraising and in creating innovative programs to benefit the welfare of our student-athletes. Pat personifies the values of Washington State University and we are proud that he is a Coug.”
Chun’s extension should be welcome news to Coug fans everywhere. He’s hit it out of the park with his hires for both basketball teams, the athletic department actually runs smoothly and the school’s athletics fundraising situation has never been better, including a record $27.7 million in 2019-2020.
For now anyway, Pat Chun is ours and you can’t have him.