Two days after student leaders learned the Athletics Department would request a two-month-late student fee increase, the department announced that Kristen Holt would replace Jen Warden as head coach of the women’s basketball team — a move that will cost the financially starved university $230,000 extra in the next two years.
Holt will make the same as Warden at $115,000 a year, while Warden still has two years left on her contract.
Warden’s firing is the latest in Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk’s overhaul of the failing athletics program. Sonny Lubick was fired in November after 14 years as head football coach, and head basketball coach Dale Layer was fired shortly after Kowalczyk was hired in 2006. CSU is still paying off both coaches’ contracts. The Athletics Department hired Steve Fairchild as Lubick’s replacement as head football coach at the end of last semester. Fairchild’s contract makes him the third highest-paid coach in the Mountain West Conference at $700,000, while Lubick’s contract also has two years left before it expires at $530,000 a year.
Questions were raised after Lubick’s firing as to how Athletics planned to pay off the coach and his 11 assistants’ severance pay and hire a new coach. But when Athletics didn’t send a proposal to the Student Fee Review Board in February, Kowalczyk said his department didn’t intend to put more of a financial burden on students to support CSU sports.
But Kowalczyk said Monday Athletics now plans to submit a proposal for an increase in student fees. Warden’s buy-out, Kowalczyk said, will not affect the amount of Athletics’ fee increase, which at this point remains unknown. He will meet with student leaders today to discuss the details of the increase, which is likely to be substantial, sources said.
“It’s not gonna change what I’m asking for,” he said.
Trout, the vice president of the Associated Students of CSU, hadn’t heard about the firing when the Collegian called him Wednesday evening.
News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org