Raises approved for Bielema, Chryst

Wisconsin's Board of Regents on Friday approved pay raises for both head coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

Bielema's total compensation package will increase from $1.7 million to $2.5 million. While his base salary remains $400,000, his compensation from program revenue and gift funds increases from $1.3 million to $2.1 million. Bielema last month had his five-year rollover contract picked up through the 2015 season. Both contracts will increase $100,000 per year for the life of the agreement.

“Bret has set a high standard for the football program, on the field and in the classroom,” athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a prepared statement. “During his five years as our coach, he has been a Big Ten Coach of the Year, averaged nearly 10 wins per season, won a Big Ten championship and overseen a program that has performed remarkably well on the academic side. It is important to compensate Bret in an appropriate manner.”

Chryst receives a $100,000 raise, bringing his total compensation to $405,000. Like Bielema, his contract has been extended until Jan. 31, 2016. Chryst previously was among the Big Ten's highest-paid assistants, but several teams courted him after Wisconsin's run to the Rose Bowl, including Texas for its offensive coordinator vacancy.

The pay increases were reported last month, so no surprises today. As I've written before, we can debate whether coaches should make as much as they make, but given the market and what Bielema and Chryst have done the past two seasons, Wisconsin did what it had to do.