PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University announced last week that athletic director Pat Chun had been extended through 2026 and that the Board of Regents had approved Chun’s athletic budget for next year.
It was definitely a jam-packed week for Chun, but it sounds like he’s just getting started.
"It’s going to be a fun couple years here for Washington State. I'm just proud that President Schultz continues to trust me with my role here within the athletic department," Chun said of getting a contract extension.
The proof is in the pudding when it comes to Chun.
He’s spearheaded several record setting years for donations, has had his coaching hires thus far at WSU see success, and secured a 10-year, $11 million deal with Gesa Credit Union this spring for the naming rights to Martin Stadium’s field.
"We’re an athletic department that prioritizes process and progress over perfection, but on the same token, you can’t argue with the trajectory we believe our football program is on, our men’s and women’s basketball programs, the sustained excellence of our soccer team, our volleyball team, our rowing team. You’re watching improvements in our baseball program," said Chun.
All of his success also made him attractive to other universities this spring as was he allegedly up for several high-profile AD jobs, including Northwestern.
However, Chun says don’t believe everything you read, and he doesn’t believe those rumors played into his extension, which included a raise of $50,000 every year with his salary starting at $700,000 this year.
"A lot of what was played out in the media wasn’t totally accurate, but Kirk and I had had discussions since the start of the pandemic. He made it clear to me that he was going to extend me. Really about a month ago he wanted to wrap everything up."
Chun declined to comment on what was inaccurate in the media reports about him being up for other AD jobs.
After he got his extension last week, Chun’s athletic department budget for next year got passed through the Board of Regents, but it was not without controversy.
Part of the proposal was reallocating $2 to $3 million from academics' budget to athletics' budget to help pay for Pac-12 membership fees. The faculty senate was not thrilled with that idea five months ago.
"I'm really thankful that we have a faculty senate that cares, that wants what's best for our institution," Chun said in response to why he would tell the senate that the decision to reallocate funds was a good one. "The faculty have such a huge role on this campus. Their opinions have a right to be heard and ultimately, I respect them. We’ll continue to move forward and coexist in this environment at Washington State."
As for what that environment will look like next year at sporting events?
Chun still doesn’t have much of an idea of what capacity they’ll be able to have fans at next season.
"We’re hopeful. It’s important. Sports are such an integral part of people’s lives. The experience that’s here in Pullman is very different than most places because you fly in, you drive in, you make a weekend out of it, you get your RV going, you go hug and see your best friends from college. That’s a different type of experience that we want as many Cougs to have this fall as possible," said Chun.