Jeff Compher’s employment with search firm WittKieffer does not reduce his total buyout of $1,262,500 owed to him by ECU until April 30, 2023.
Compher’s buyout was initiated in March of 2018, signaling the end to his polarizing and at-times unpopular tenure as the Pirates’ former athletics director. He was hired by WittKieffer last month, but ECU confirmed this week that his annual earnings do not meet the threshold, which is identified in a copy of his buyout contract as at least $192,500, for ECU to reduce its scheduled payments to him.
“After receiving contract information from Jeff Compher’s attorney for his new employment and based on his agreement with ECU, it does not appear that Jeff Compher will exceed the threshold in his contract to trigger the university’s reducing payments to him at this time,” ECU interim chief communications officer Jeannine Manning Hutson wrote in an email.
The buyout, signed March 9 of last year, states that any annual compensation Compher earns in excess of $192,500 from the date of the termination of his employment with ECU (May 1, 2018) through April 30, 2023, shall further reduce, dollar for dollar, ECU’s obligation to pay the amount due to Compher.
He was eligible to earn $242,500 from ECU by April 30 of this year, according to the buyout, and the rest of the payments are: $247,500 by April 30, 2020, $252,500 by April 30, 2021, $257,500 by April 30, 2022 and $262,500 by April 30, 2023. If Compher earns total annual compensation that exceeds what he would be paid by ECU, then the Pirates’ financial obligations cease.
A news release by WittKieffer on Oct. 16 stated that Compher’s role would be based in Chicago to lead searches for athletics leaders and coaches at a range of institutions. He was the AD at Northern Illinois before being hired by ECU and beginning with the Pirates in April of 2013.