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Notre Dame

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Willingham on ND payroll three years after firing

Notre Dame fired former football coach Tyrone Willingham after the 2004 regular season. Three years later, the school was still paying him.

The school paid Willingham $650,000 from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, the third straight year they've paid him that sum since his firing.

It also left the former coach, who has since been fired by the University of Washington, as the second-highest paid employee on Notre Dame's payroll who is not an officer, director or trustee. The numbers came from the school's latest Form 990 federal tax form, which was obtained by The Journal Gazette on Wednesday.

And, for the third straight year, Willingham's compensation is higher than the base salary of current head coach Charlie Weis.

Weis was paid $521,750 in base pay for the same period along with $54,030 in contributions to employee benefits and $65,071 in expenses. Combined, the university paid him $640,851. That does not include potential monies from camps, speaking appearances, apparel deals and radio shows, for example, to reach a higher salary figure.

What is known is that Notre Dame paid Weis less in base salary in the '07-'08 fiscal year than it did in '06-'07, when it paid him a combined package of $716,277, including $598,000 in base salary. Notre Dame has never released terms of Weis' contracts - either when he was initially hired or after his extension, which was announced in 2005. His contract runs through 2015.

Weis is entering is fifth season at Notre Dame. He has a record of 29-21.

Notre Dame, a private institution, is not required to release contracts and employee salary information other than what the government requires on Form 990.

Athletics director Jack Swarbrick declined to comment on Notre Dame's salaries.

The highest-paid employee who is not an official, trustee or director was again Michael D. Donovan, the managing director of investments for the university. He was paid $819,513 in base compensation, $293,351 in contributions to employee benefits and an expense account of $1,177. All three numbers are higher than a year ago.

Willingham is second on the top-five list, followed by Weis.

Fourth is men's basketball coach Mike Brey, who received $526,757 in base pay, along with $53,181 in employee benefits and $29,204 in expenses. Brey's base pay for the '07-'08 fiscal year was higher than Weis', but his total package of $609,142 is less. It does indicate a base pay raise for Brey from a year ago, when he earned $478,299.

Women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw was fifth for the second straight year, earning $515,014 in base compensation, $53,989 in employee benefits and $18,133 in an expense account. McGraw's base pay is also up from a year ago, when she earned $468,781.

Messages left for football sports information director Brian Hardin and university spokesman Dennis Brown were not immediately returned.

Including officers, directors and trustees, Notre Dame's highest-paid employee is Scott C. Malpass, vice president and chief investment officer. Malpass earned $1,457,909 in compensation, $494,236 in employee benefits and $1,535 in expenses. He was also the school's highest-paid employee a year ago.