Saturday, September 30, 2023

It’s been a month and W&M hasn’t finalized Dane Fischer’s head basketball coaching contract

Samantha Huge, athletic director and W&M President Katherine Rowe present Dane Fischer, the new men's head basketball coach, with a Tribe jersey. (Julia Marsigliano/ WYDaily)
Samantha Huge, athletic director and W&M President Katherine Rowe present Dane Fischer, the new men’s head basketball coach, with a Tribe jersey. (Julia Marsigliano/ WYDaily)

Dane Fischer, the College of William & Mary’s new head men’s basketball coach, signed a letter of intent with the university on April 2.

But the terms of his contract have not yet been finalized.

“The finalized contract for Dane Fischer has not been completed,” Pete Clawson, spokesman for W&M’s Athletic Department, wrote in an email Monday. “It will be shared once it has been signed and returned.”

Fischer, a former assistant men’s basketball coach at George Mason University, was hired to replace Tony Shaver.

Shaver, who was fired from W&M after 16 seasons, is eligible for a $1.7 million payout.

RELATED STORY: Now this: W&M wouldn’t say it, but Coach Shaver was fired. Now he’s eligible for a $1.7M payout

WYDaily submitted a Freedom of Information of Act request on April 8 regarding Fischer’s contract and two days later, Lillian Stevens, W&M’s FOIA officer, said “there was no written agreement yet” between Fischer and the university.

Nearly three weeks later, WYDaily received the letter of intent from Stevens in an email. It shows Fischer’s base salary and projected earnings per the basketball team’s performance.

“The financial data you have already received in the letter of intent, shared by Lilian today, should remain the same,” Clawson wrote in an email Monday.

Here is a breakdown of Fischer’s anticipated earnings.

Fischer’s five-year unfinalized contract is from April 8, 2019 to June 30, 2024. His base salary is $225,000 per year and he gets a $75,000 bonus each year: $25,000 for retention, $25,000 for media participation and $25,000 fundraising and community outreach participation.

He also gets $20,00 for moving expenses.

In addition, each year Fischer is eligible for a 3 or 5 percent increase depending on the team’s season performance. He also gets a country club membership, a phone stipend and a “late model car appropriate for a Division I Head Basketball Coach” or $4,000 stipend.

In the first year of Fischer’s contract, including moving expenses, Fischer will get $270,000.

Clawson said Shaver was making approximately $260,000 per year, but Dennis Cordell, Shaver’s agent, said his client was making $320,000 per year.

If Tribe basketball wins the Colonial Athletic Association championship game or makes the NCAA bid for the March Madness bracket, Fischer gets $10,000.

If Fischer wins the NCAA tournament, he gets a $100,000 bonus.

WYDaily also filed a Freedom of Information Act request pertaining to the search waiver for a new head coach but instead received a Recruitment Waiver Request filed on March 31 by Samantha Huge, W&M Athletic Director.

The form was a waiver for an outside hire so Huge can hire Fischer. Both Huge and a dean signed the document on March 31 and the next day, Robert Green, W&M’s interim chief human resources officer, signed off.

The Recruitment Waiver Request states it is necessary for the filing party to show how the prospective hire “possessed a unique or specialized skill set” so Huge, either had to prove Fischer was uniquely qualified for the job and possessed a special skill set difficult to find or the department had circumstances of a “critical nature” which did not allow a broad search for a candidate.

The Recruitment Wavier Request was redacted so it’s unclear how Fischer met or exceeded the requirements for the head coaching position.

“In this instance, the request to proceed without a search was made by the Athletic Director and approved by the Provost, which was confirmed in the email attached (ProvostEmail),” Clawson, wrote in an email.

Clawson said the only written form of communication pertaining to searching for a new head coach was an email on March 12 between Huge, Green and Michael Halleran, W&M’s provost.

“You get that permission verbally or you have an email sent to you confirming that is okay,” Clawson said.

A WYDaily reporter reached out the human resources department’s main office Monday. The person who answered hanged up immediately after the reporter identified herself.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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