U of M will continue to pay two former head coaches next season

(WMC-TV) - The University of Memphis will continue to pay salaries to two previous head football coaches who were fired.

"That's kind of the price of doing business in this day and age," said University of Memphis Athletic Director R.C. Johnson.  "Unfortunately, we're in a position where we have to make things happen."

According to university officials, Larry Porter will continue to be paid his annual $754,000 salary, minus what he would be paid if he lands another job.

Tommy West, who was dismissed after the 2009 season, remains on the payroll through the end of the 2012 season with an annual salary of $925,000.

If the University of Memphis pays its next coach close to what it paid Porter last year, the total annual salary for the three head coaches combined could be more than $2 million.

"We've kind of created the problem ourselves," said Johnson.  "Athletic directors, presidents, and chancellors around the country, we bring people with four or five-year contracts because that's the only way we can get them to begin with.  If it doesn't work, you owe them."

Johnson said next season is the last in which West will remain on the payroll.  His deal expires on November 30, 2012.

"We'll be done with Tommy in about a year," said Johnson.  "Almost to the day, we'll be done with his salary."

West's contract states he is paid the same amount per month regardless of if he is employed elsewhere.  Porter will receive his annual salary in monthly installments through November 29, 2014.

If Porter lands another job, the University of Memphis' obligation would be reduced by the amount of the salary.

"He'll be a hot ticket item," said Johnson.  "Someone will hire him and then that'll be deducted from the amount we owe him, so that'll help.  Then what we need to do is raise money to get the new coach in here.  Hopefully with increased ticket sales and donations we'll keep right on going."

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.