Williams quizzed on salary

CHAPEL HILL UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun made headlines around the country this week when he went off on a freelance journalist who questioned his salary in these tough economic times.

Calhoun, who has a base salary of $1.6 million, was asked if he'd give any of it back considering the state faced a deficit as high as $8.7 billion over the next two fiscal years.

Calhoun got visibly angry and told the reporter "Not one dime."

So when the question came up Friday at a Williams news conference, he'd clearly thought about it. Williams base salary is not anywhere close to Calhoun's. Most of his compensation comes from outside sources and even his "state" salary of just over $333,000 is paid through athletic department generated revenue.

Still, reporters asked him if he'd take a cut if asked. Here's some snippets of what he had to say:

Williams: "I think first of all there's no way to answer that question. I mean, you know, if I say, Yeah. Then somebody's going to call and say give it all to me back. If you say no then you come across as being insensitive."

Williams: "At this moment, I'm the most sensitive person in this room to the state of our nation's economy. My son called yesterday.. Uh.. it was a great day because they just told him he was finished. He's a bond trader for Wachovia Securities and they're bought by Wells Fargo and Wells Fargo doesn't even do what Wachovia Securities did.

Williams: "So I'm more sensitive to anybody in here. I've got a son that's part of the nation's unemployed. Now he's a cocky little rascal and thinks he's going to have a job tonight. But, I said 'Son people aren't hiring, they're letting people go.' So that is part of it there that I am sensitive. It is a tough time."

Williams: "I'm also sensitive to the fact that I do give a great deal of money to the University every year."

Williams: "I am sensitive to the fact that the initial contract I signed in Spring of 2003.. that we would renegotiate my contract after the second year.. the second year was a pretty good year. We won the national championship."

Williams: "I never asked to renegotiate in fact I forgot about it.. and the AD came to me six months later and I said don't worry about it. The next year 2006 I had maybe the most satisfying year I've ever had as a coach. I was coach of the year and he asked me if I wanted to renegotiate again. And I said no, I'm satisfied with it. We did something the year after that."

Williams: "I don't think I'm in the business to make money. If you convince me, me giving up something could help somebody then we'd really have a great discussion because I'm willing to do a lot of things. But, I'm not willing to stand up here and say yes and I'm not willing to stand up here and say no because I think it's a question where there's no good answer."

Williams: "I just know from my buddy Jim Calhoun, I'm not going to tell you to shut up..((LAUGHTER))..and so these are tough times and nobody knows.. I can look around the room and it's affecting people in this room right here."

Williams: "But it is a fact that I am not paid. You said.. I forget exactly how you phrased it..((TURNS ANOTHER UNC OFFICIAL))..yeah, I'm not paid by state funds. And we've had some success and we have made a lot of money in men's basketball. If we start losing games and losing money, they're not going to ask me to give any of the money back. They're going to fire me and that's something I understand."

Williams: "Again, I haven't really answered your question. I've sort of dodged around it a little bit. I don't believe there's anybody that's more sensitive to it than I am. I do believe I give a great deal of money whether it's Carolina Covenant or other programs here in our department..whether it's other programs. So I'm very proud of what we've done."

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