Bryan Harsin with fans

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin celebrates with fans following BSU’s 21-16 victory over BYU on Nov. 3, 2018, at Albertsons Stadium.

Support Local Journalism


BOISE — Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin, men’s basketball coach Leon Rice and other coaches and athletic department personnel will be forced to take up to two weeks of furlough days through July due to budget shortfalls stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

University president Dr. Marlene Tromp announced in an email to staff Monday that full-time staff will have to take between four and 10 furlough days, depending on their income. A Boise State athletics spokesman confirmed Wednesday that coaches are included.

Boise State is believed to be the first school nationally to furlough its football coaches. Other schools have announced temporary reductions in pay for its coaches, but none to this point have forced them to take unpaid time off.

Employees making more than $150,000 will be forced to take 10 furlough days. That impacts 14 members of the athletic department, including 13 coaches and athletic director Curt Apsey. Those that make less than $150,000 have to take fewer furlough days, depending on their income.

According to 2020 budget projections that Boise State just presented to the State Board of Education last week, Harsin is the highest-paid state employee with a base salary of $1,596,154. His weekly pay is $30,695.26, meaning he’ll lose more than $61,390 for two unpaid weeks.

Rice makes $730,288, according to the budget. Two unpaid weeks will result in a loss of more than $28,000. Apsey makes $369,512, which means his lost income will be just over $14,000.

Tromp, who makes about $425,000, announced she’s taking more furlough days than the ten days she asked of others. She said in the letter to staff that “another phase of furloughs may be necessary later in the year, it is my sincere hope that acting swiftly will help us avoid financial pressures that would necessitate such action.”

Other coaches forced to take two-week furloughs include women’s basketball coach Gordy Presnell ($300,000), assistant men’s basketball coach Mike Burns ($154,538) and nearly all of the assistant football coaches. Brad Bedell, Eric Kiesau, Jeff Schmedding and Kent Riddle all make $250,000 or higher, according to the budget. Spencer Danielson ($215,000), Gabe Franklin ($210,000) and strength coach Jeff Pitman ($160,000) also were among those asked to take 10 furlough days.

Employees making between $100,000 and $149,999 were hit with a mandatory seven furlough days. That impacts several more coaches including volleyball coach Shawn Garus ($130,000), men’s and women’s track and field coach Corey Ihmels ($132,000) and other assistants for football and men’s basketball.

Those making less than $100,000 have to take either four or five furlough days, depending on the salary.

The furloughs must be completed between May 3 and July 31.

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

Load comments