New WMU athletic director to make $290K salary on five-year contract

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

New Western Michigan athletic director Dan Bartholomae will earn a base salary of $290,000 under a five-year contract outlined by a memo of understanding signed last month.

Bartholomae comes from Oregon State to take over for Kathy Beareguard, who retired at the end of 2021 following a 24-year run as WMU's athletic director and 42 years at the university.

WMU's Board of Trustees is set to approve the Bartholomae hiring at a meeting later this month. The vote is a formality; the university announced the hire last month.

Dan Bartholomae is Western Michigan's new athletic director.

"Dan comes to Western with a strong record of service in Division I athletics and a commitment to maintaining a program centered on success for our student athletes on and off the field," Western president Edward Montgomery said in a statement last month. "We are pleased to have a leader of his caliber and experience to guide the division into its next era of accomplishment."

At Oregon State, Bartholomae was a deputy AD overseeing several fundraising projects, including a $153 million football stadium renovation.

He originally was hired at Oregon State in 2017 as deputy athletic director for capital projects, and was promoted to executive deputy AD and chief operating officer in 2019.

Money matters will be a significant focus in his new job at Western Michigan, which has had notable on-field success in recent years, in multiple sports, but has felt a significant budget crunch. Millions have been cut from the athletics budget since even before the start of the pandemic. He'll also have decisions to make soon on the future of football coach Tim Lester, who is coming off his first bowl victory, and men's basketball coach Clayton Bates. Lester's contract is up after 2023, Bates' after the 2022-23 season.

Bartholomae's $290,000 annual salary puts him near the top of the state's mid-major ADs; Central Michigan's Amy Folan also makes about $290,000, Eastern Michigan's Scott Wetherbee makes $269,000 and Oakland's Steve Waterfield has a $237,000 salary. Detroit Mercy's Robert Vowels' salary isn't known; the university is private and thus isn't subject to disclosing salaries to the public.

Bartholomae also can make up to $30,000 more in bonuses, based on academic and athletic successes. He also is allotted $650 a month for an automobile, has a membership to Kalamazoo's social Park Club, is allotted $6,000 a year for a golf membership, and will be reimbursed up to $20,000 for moving expenses.

The contract is quite ironclad in terms of early exits. If Western Michigan fires Bartholomae without cause, he would be owed the remainder of the contract; and if Bartholomae leaves early, he would be responsible for paying the university the remainder of the contract.

Prior to his time at Oregon State, Bartholomae was in the Pittsburgh athletic department, where he started in 2002. He's a Pittsburgh native, with a master's from Pitt and a bachelor's from Indiana.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984