NEW INFO: ECU trustees agree to $1.26 million Compher buyout

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - A buyout deal for East Carolina University's embattled athletics director was finalized this morning.

Trustees spent about 30 minutes behind closed session where they discussed the departure of athletics director Jeff Compher. They then came back into public session and voted unanimously to the agreement.

Compher will get $1.26 from ECU over the next five years as part of his contract buyout. It equals to half of what Compher would have been paid if he had stayed at ECU for his entire contract.

"It was just several weeks ago that Jeff and I had a conversation and he brought up the idea that given where things are at the moment, anticipating where we are particularly in a search for a basketball coach, that it might be a time to think about this and so the conversations began at that point which led us to today," said Chancellor Cecil Staton.

The agreement requires Compher to "make reasonable efforts" to get a new job. ECU's payments will be reduced dollar for dollar after he earns $192,500 per year at a new position.

Compher was not at the meeting. He will stay on as athletics director until May 1st, meaning he'll receive a $140,000 “longevity bonus” on April 30th.

He's been at ECU since April 2013, and he replaced Terry Holland.

His first big decision as athletics director was to fire popular head football coach Ruffin McNeill. Compher replaced McNeill with Scottie Montgomery who has turned in back-to-back 3-9 seasons as ECU head football coach.

In recent months, Compher has been under fire by many in the Pirate Nation, some going as far as hiring a plane to fly a banner over Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium saying "FIRE COMPHER".

There have also been students wearing tee-shirts advocating his ouster at sporting events, and a social media page was created seeking his removal.

Compher's original contract was up this coming April 1st, but last July trustees gave him a five year contract extension that would have guaranteed him a job until 2023.

He was making a base salary of $435,000, up from his original base of $365,000.

The chancellor says they'll immediately begin a search for a new head of athletics and says interim leadership will be announced soon.


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WITN Sports has learned that East Carolina University Athletics Director Jeff Compher is on his way out.

A source with knowledge of the deal says it is a mutual buyout agreement between the university and Compher.

University trustees are holding a special meeting Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. and are expected to finalize the deal.

Compher has been at ECU since April 2013, replacing Terry Holland.

His first big decision as athletics director was to fire popular head football coach Ruffin McNeill. Compher replaced McNeill with Scottie Montgomery who has turned in back-to-back 3-9 seasons as ECU head football coach.

In recent months, Compher has been under fire by many in the Pirate Nation, some going as far as hiring a plane to fly a banner over Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium saying "FIRE COMPHER".

There have also been students wearing tee-shirts advocating his ouster at sporting events, and a social media page was created seeking his removal.

Compher's original contract was up this coming April 1st, but last July trustees gave him a five year contract extension that would have guaranteed him a job until 2023.

He is now making a base salary of $435,000, up from his original base of $365,000.