Steve Fisher. "Investigators found that Fisher made out 16 of the passes, and that his secretary or other clerical workers made out 10."
Given last month's abrupt demise of Balboa Park's Hall of Champions, retiring San Diego State University head basketball coach Steve Fisher will have to settle for the virtual Valhalla of the heart that the city's well-moneyed sports establishment reserves for its triumphal heroes, though he gets to keep their money.
Fisher, now 72, arrived in town 18 seasons ago, two years after his ouster by the University of Michigan amid a scandal involving freebies provided to well-heeled boosters.
"The announcement came two days after a Kansas law firm hired by the university to investigate the Wolverines basketball program issued a report that called into question Fisher's role in arranging complimentary tickets for booster Eddie Martin," reported the Associated Press in an October 11, 1997 story.
"Fisher told investigators with the Bond, Schoeneck & King law firm he was responsible for only a few of the 32 complimentary tickets Martin received during a three-year period," said the account.
"But investigators found that Fisher made out 16 of the passes, and that his secretary or other clerical workers made out 10."
Word around San Diego was that Fisher, hired here in 1999, was obtained on the relative cheap by SDSU, but his financial status changed as he revamped the school's basketball program, in the process making friends with wealthy university donors who have increasingly supplemented his state salary.
As of 2015, Fisher's total state pay and benefits totaled $386,167, per the website Transparent California.
Additionally, university donors kicked in so-called supplemental compensation of $767,832, per SDSU records, raising Fisher’s yearly grand total to $1,153,999.
The coach's pay is governed by a September 2006, employment agreement, along with subsequent extensions, the latest of which was set to expire next year.
The original deal called for Fisher to get a state-funded salary of $208,620 through June 2007, with a yearly "merit increase of 5% of base pay or top of the Administrator IV salary range, whichever is lower," plus benefits, including pension.
The coach's donor-supplied supplemental salary through June 2007 was set at $225,000, rising $25,000 each year through June 2010 to $300,000.
Under a rollover clause in the 2006 agreement, Fisher was to have been paid yearly supplemental compensation of $325,000 through June 2012, and $350,000 through June 2013, according to documents obtained in February 2016 by the Muckrock website.
But an August 8, 2011, renegotiation boosted the coach’s state salary to $258,168 and increased 2012's supplemental payout to $541,832, making his total compensation that year $800,000.
Fisher’s supplemental compensation for each of the years 2015 through 2018 was increased to $767,832 by a November 12, 2014 addendum.
In addition, "University shall provide Coach a total of two (2) courtesy automobiles and/or automobile stipends in accordance with the Department of Athletics' established policies," per the September 2006 contract.
"Gasoline costs for business mileage are reimbursed subject to the Department of Athletics' established policies. Repairs within the insurance deductible amount are Coach's responsibility unless the accident occurred while on University business and University accident reports have been filed."
In another form of compensation, "In order to advance the public relations interest of University and enhance recruiting, University shall make available to Coach for basketball camps the use of University gyms and related facilities," the contract says.
"Coach shall receive a stipend of $25,000 per year for camps.”
Other consideration included "$25,000 per year for shoe/apparel (i.e., Nike) compensation," and agreement by the university to announce in 2011 "that Associate Head Coach Brian Dutcher will be named the 'Head-Coach-in-Waiting.'"
Dutcher is a long-time Fisher associate dating back to their days together in Michigan.
Under the terms of his 2014 deal, Fisher was also eligible for $10,000 bonuses, including those for being named Mountain West Coach of the Year and "winning 20 or more games in a season."