New basketball coach just the first step

MONROE, La. -- Louisiana-Monroe is ready to sink more money
into men's basketball. Beginning with the new coach.

Orlando Early agreed to a four-year contract with a base salary
of $115,000 per year, with incentives. Former head coach Mike
Vining was paid in the neighborhood of $80,000.

"We're going to have to grow that number," athletic director
Bobby Staub said. "In order to do that, we've got to go out and
fund raise. But we're committed to helping him be successful."

Staub said that the pool for assistant salaries and other staff
members will also increase. ULM will move all sports into the Sun
Belt beginning with the 2006-07 season.

"We're going to have to increase that pool of dollars for
support personnel," Staub said. "Not only for coaches but
possibly secretarial as well. We're going to have to grow that
budget to help him be able to compete."

ULM president Jim Cofer said the Carr Report, a review of the
school's athletics department last summer, defined the advantages
of increasing support for the move up.

"We have to raise the money," Cofer said. "You're going to
have to put some money in basketball to be competitive in the Sun
Belt. It's that simple."