LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson,
praised by some and derided by others for quickly remolding
Cornhusker football after coming to town five years ago, has agreed
to terms of a five-year contract extension.
The contract finalized last week will pay Pederson $500,000
annually beginning next year, and includes $50,000 for media
appearances. That represents a 16 percent pay raise for Pederson,
who currently makes $429,837, of which $35,000 is for media
appearances, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman said.
Pederson will also be eligible for annual bonuses and pay hikes,
opportunities that exist in his current contract.
The performance of Cornhusker athletic teams, academic successes
and the financial stability of the athletic department were among
the factors that Perlman said led him to offer the extension.
"Our athletic program is well regarded in the highly
competitive arena of college athletics, due largely to the focus
Steve has placed on balancing athletics and academics for our
student athletes," Perlman said.
Pederson thanked fans for making the school "the best college
atmosphere in the country."
His new salary puts him near the midpoint of Big 12 athletic
directors or "maybe a little higher," Perlman said.
Pederson said he is uncomfortable with his salary being
publicized, saying, "I wish salaries were never public."
"I grew up in a family where you never asked," he said.
"It is what it is," Pederson said of the figures being made
public, "and you just deal with it.
"Our family would like the privacy and I also think when you do
a job, you get paid what the going rate is for the job."
Pederson caused an uproar shortly after being hired in 2002,
when he fired Frank Solich as head football coach following the
2003 season. Bill Callahan, former coach of the Oakland Raiders,
was eventually hired to replace Solich.
Nebraska is 22-15 under Callahan. The team went unbeaten in
North Division play last year and lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12
championship game, then lost to Auburn in the Cotton Bowl.
Under Pederson's leadership, Nebraska's football facilities were
given a $50 million facelift that included a 6,500-seat expansion
in Memorial Stadium's north end zone, a fan-friendly concourse and
new strength and athletic medicine facilities.