FanDuel - WFBC

August 29, 2006

"Fields of Green: High School Pay." : High School Football Coach's salaries in the the State of Texas via King Kaufman.

posted by willthrill72 to football at 02:30 PM - 39 comments

I think the point Kaufman makes towards the end of his article is a good one -- from a pure economic perspective, paying coaches more than teachers make sense, but perhaps we as a society should question why public school teachers are valued so little (as reflected in their pay).

posted by holden at 03:27 PM on August 29

I think it's a combination of undervaluing our educators and overemphasizing scholastic sports.

posted by willthrill72 at 03:59 PM on August 29

Not just scholastic sports. A research scientist with a doctorate who may be working on a cure for some disease makes a fraction of what someone who can hit a little white ball 30% of the time and may have barely or never graduated high school.

posted by scottypup at 04:14 PM on August 29

Ah yes, scottypup, but who wants to watch that research scientist at work? People who feel professional athletes are overpaid may choose to boycott them by simply not watching them on the TV. As a resident of the city with the two coaches tied for 8th place as highest paid on the list of salaries in the article, I can assure you that two points that the article brings up are a very big factor in determining their salaries, those being the number of hours put in, and the amount of money generated by their program. The success of our programs in recent years has allowed us to build (with a successful bond election, of course) a new multi purpose stadium, and has allowed us to finance other things such as the band going to the Tournament of Roses Parade, new buildings for the music and drama departments, etc, etc. With road trips that often exceed 300 miles (often out of state), intense competiton for playoff dollars, a post season that is almost 2 months long, and year round community involvement that is traditional as well as highly regarded in these parts, I think that we might take our high school football a little more seriously than other parts of the country. Big budget operations have highly paid employees in other aspects of the business world, why not High School coaches?

posted by mjkredliner at 05:12 PM on August 29

Honestly, I don't see the relationship between what high school teachers make vs. what pro-athletes make. I think that's taking the big picture out too far. High school football caoches, on the other hand are entirely comparable. And these findings are a little gross. However, sports and school athletics are absolutely a good and positive part of a kid's education. I learned a lot about myself and others through competition. It's not the idea that's the problem here - it's the execution. The emphasis on winning, exclusion, status and the collective ego are frankly misguided, potentially damaging and most assuredly dulling from my perspective.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:27 PM on August 29

Talk about living vicariously through your children.

posted by igottheblues at 05:42 PM on August 29

You read far too much into it, Weedy, it's just as much a social deal as an NFL game in a bigger city, maybe more since it is all local kids on the field, and an excuse to whomp some old rivals. I guess they don't do nothin' like that in Jr. hockey, though, eh?

posted by mjkredliner at 05:43 PM on August 29

I went to a high school football powerhouse in Georgia. We had 17(!) coaches assisting the football team, and this was 20 years ago. The athletes thought they were gods. So when I went to Northwestern during the awful 80s, I was actually glad to be somewhere the athletes were embarassed to admit they were on the team. Now I'm a huge NU fan and try to see as many games as I can, but I still think high school athletes get way too much attention. Overpaying their coaches doesn't help. Look at what happened to Booby from Friday Night Lights .

posted by drumdance at 06:34 PM on August 29

I think its a shame how teachers are undervalued so much in our time. They are the ones that raise the kids in school and teach them all that parents probably couldn't. It is horrible how little they get paid. That said, paying football coaches more than teachers is just ridiculous. Football will never replace learning, here, in texas whereever. I agree perfectly with scottypup, that people with more education and working for the better of the world are paid dramatically less than a baseball or football player. They should be valued more the previously stated, the main reason being they are improving the world while the local QB is not. The coaches should be doing their work not for the pay but because they love the sport, especially at the high school level. Don't get me wrong, I'm an athlete myself but I can not see why we would give some guy from Texas who thinks he knows where to put the X's and O's over a teacher that could put more values and skills in a kid's head. To think otherwise is just disgraceful. Athletics in high school is great but only a chosen few make it into the professional level. What happens to all the wannabes? They are left with nothing, no mental ability, no skills, no resume. We just need to put things in their correct priority and that is encouraging kids to do better in school and not overglamorize the football field.

posted by mars314 at 06:45 PM on August 29

All things in moderation. High school sports can teach kids how to be gracious in victory and defeat, to be driven to achieve their goals (but not at all costs), to be part of a team, and any number of other positive lessons. Unfortunately, not all coaches approach it that way, but the good ones are every bit as valuable as any other "teacher". Add to that the funds that a football program can generate for the school, and a high salary for the coach isn't as silly as it may seem at first glance. Still, over $100K for a high school coach? Daaammnn! I considered a coaching career and decided the money wasn't enough to have the family life I wanted. Times have changed, I guess.

posted by ctal1999 at 06:55 PM on August 29

drumdance, the school that was featured H.G. Bissinger's book "Friday Night Lights", (and the subsequent movie), Odessa Permian, is located 20 miles from my city, and has been our chief rival for 45 years. The movie does not paint as accurate a portrayal of West Texas Football as the book manages to, nor does it capture the outrage that was spawned by the book's release. As with all high level amateur athletics these days, the kids do face an inordinate amount of pressure to win, but I suggest that this is not limited to football, or to Texas. Times have changed, for better or worse. The book "Friday Nght Lights" exposed hijinks that many school districts and athletes families are guilty of across the country, not just in Texas. As far as the compensation paid to the coaches of the program, it is apparently no more than the market will bear, and, one must realize, that in many cases, the school board must approve these salaries. Most of the coaches are educators, or, teachers, and perform those duties in addition to coaching. Not to mention, that they are in charge of a very high budget program, as I mentioned before. And hey, Booby's injury could have occurred at any high school in the country, in any sport. And does, all the time.

posted by mjkredliner at 06:59 PM on August 29

I play high school football in the exact area were this atricle is refering to, my coach is often on the list of the highest paied coaches in the heart of football country in texas,this is the most commpetive high school sports area in the world ,our coach left a division 3 collage to coach high school football and that is all he does all day. the movie "Friday Night Lights" is just like my football program. We have football as a class and get credit toward graduating just for playing football, some players around here are more famous even then those who play on the cowboys

posted by goraccoons at 07:49 PM on August 29

Now, that is a resounding endorsement. Maybe we should consider payin' those teachers more...

posted by mjkredliner at 09:31 PM on August 29

Perfect example of ignoring education in favor of sports glory. Shit... mjk beat me to it.

posted by willthrill72 at 09:33 PM on August 29

Football is for a few kids. People trying to justify that sort of payday is sad. My opinion: Pay a teacher properly and privatize costly sports like football. I think the point Kaufman makes towards the end of his article is a good one -- from a pure economic perspective, paying coaches more than teachers make sense, but perhaps we as a society should question why public school teachers are valued so little (as reflected in their pay). posted by holden If is so purely economic then then it should fund itself privately. I saw the commercial for FNL series and laughed (especially the pep rally). Is that show geared for teens?

posted by T$PORT4lawschool at 09:38 PM on August 29

Becoming an athlete is nothing short of an investment. We love to talk about how overpaid these athletes are, but neglect that to get to the level they are at they need to almost exclusively dedicate all of their resources to their sport. Now, consider that these multi-millionaires actually compose a rather small percentage of those that "make it". It is thus nothing more than a high-risk investment. Academics, meanwhile, offers a much lower risk as you are likely to find some sort middle-class employment regardless of the field you go into, and therefore does not have as great a return. Money drives all of this around, and as long as people demand more from their high school coaches than they do of their teachers, expect the higher pay grade to go to the former.

posted by PublicUrinal at 09:48 PM on August 29

Here in Texas there are just 2 sports; football and spring football.Also,even though this is the Bible belt,football is the most important thing,surpassing Republicans,Jesus and even pick em up trucks.

posted by sickleguy at 09:55 PM on August 29

As a former school board member I would point out that school administrators are often paid amounts even more grossly disproportionate to those paid to the very best teachers (as compared to football coaches as discussed in the article). Furthermore, a superintendent typically does nothing to personally inspire a teenager, cause a passionate wave of community support, or build school pride. A good football coach can; I have seen it happen. Also, you should all know that virtually all merit pay bonus programs for teachers are vehemently opposed by the NEA teachers union; in contrast, the football coach has a very public merit evaluation every season. What MJK argues above has,whether you like it or not, a realistic soundness to it.

posted by judgedread at 10:09 PM on August 29

[A]nd as long as people demand more from their high school coaches than they do of their teachers, expect the higher pay grade to go to the former. posted by PublicUrinal Demand more from a coach- that's a joke right? Like is the coach going to make sure the school meets No Child Left Behind mandates or that students keep proper demeanor in the classroom. Sports are called extra-curricular and so is the coach. If high school football is so great and prodcutive it should fund itself privately-not by sucking up tax payer money. If high school football is so businesslike let it surivive in a purly economic market. Then pay the coach what the market is willing to spend, not some school board member.

posted by T$PORT4lawschool at 10:17 PM on August 29

I don't know. Maybe they are paid what they are worth? They are the ones that raise the kids in school and teach them all that parents probably couldn't. It is horrible how little they get paid. Yeah...teachers raise everyone's kids.

posted by tselson at 10:49 PM on August 29

I don't know. Maybe they are paid what they are worth? I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to discuss "worth" in connection with what has to be one of the more inefficient labor markets out there.

posted by holden at 10:59 PM on August 29

If high school football is so great and prodcutive it should fund itself-not by sucking up tax payer money. Using that same logic, the band, the debate team, and every other extra-curricular activity would have to do the same, and we all know, that that is not likely to happen. Here, the football program, much like many D1 colleges, subsidizes other programs, and provides many opportuniteis for these other programs that they might not ordinarily have. Yes, it is a business, but why is that a bad thing? Judgedread makes an interesting and accurate point about school board members, and the Director in particular, being paid a good amount of money as well, at least 5 times what a first year teacher makes in our school district, and roughly 50% more than the head football coach makes. Yet, in our fair town, I hear nary a soul complain about this, as long as we feel he is doing the job that we pay him so well to do. I know that other towns, and some bigger cities are under severe budget constraints, but that is not the case here. I guess it's all in how you feel about it, but like sickleguy said, in Texas, High School football is a damn big deal, for the kids, the parents, and the city that is represented. And if it is good for an NFL city to be crazed about their team, it is equally as good for Sundown, Texas, or any other small town to be just as fervent about their team. And if the people of the town ain't bitchin' about what the coach makes, then it really doesn't matter now, does it?

posted by mjkredliner at 12:34 AM on August 30

I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to discuss "worth" in connection with what has to be one of the more inefficient labor markets out there. Are we talking about teacher salaries? I just don't see it. I come from a family of teachers; maybe it's my econ degree or living in New England, but I don't see where teachers are underpaid. They are paid what the market will bear. The job may suck in lots of places, but the barrier to entry is fairly low. There are plenty of qualified teachers coming out of college every year. The barrier to entry, in terms of experience, for school administrators and competitive-level football coaches is higher. You could honestly debate whether that should be so, if experience in a school district makes for a better administrator or time spent as an assistant coach makes a better head coach, but where's the inefficiency in the teaching market, other than the barriers the school system throws up in terms of additional education and basically needing to know someone in certain districts to even get an interview?

posted by yerfatma at 06:15 AM on August 30

Yerfatma hit the nail on the head. T$PORT4lawschool, I would argue that parents tend to question a coach's system more than a teacher's curriculum. As for funding itself, schools are assigned an x amount every year to be earmarked exclusively for extra-curricular activities, and I would consider it fair to assess that football generally consumes less resources (after considering its contributions) than most other activities if you factor in relativity. This is especially true in schools where the coaches are "overpaid".

posted by PublicUrinal at 07:03 AM on August 30

Here, the football program, much like many D1 colleges, subsidizes other programs, That might be true in your cabbage patch (although I'd want to see the numbers; have you ever actually seen them, or just taken this on faith?). As far as "many D 1 colleges" are concerned, the often-touted belief that they are massively profitable appears to be a myth.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:23 AM on August 30

You could honestly debate whether that should be so, if experience in a school district makes for a better administrator or time spent as an assistant coach makes a better head coach, but where's the inefficiency in the teaching market, other than the barriers the school system throws up in terms of additional education and basically needing to know someone in certain districts to even get an interview? I think the market as currently constructed is perhaps operating as efficient as it could be in the current set up. I guess my point is mostly that the teaching market is skewed because of several major structural factors, one being the concept of public education as we know it in the U.S. and the other being a teachers union that actually does (at least here in Chicago) set certain barriers to entry both at entry level jobs but especially to the higher-paying levels of the teaching ranks and that fights tooth and nail against any sort of merit-based pay that might be found in a more efficient market.

posted by holden at 08:01 AM on August 30

the often touted belief that they are massively profitable appears to be a myth. I do not say that all football programs are profitable, but as your link shows, many schools are rethinking the 'business of football'. From the article you linked: "the university's (The University of Texas) regents approved another $150 million to further remodel and expand the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Expected to be completed in 2008, the project will add another 10,000 seats and 44 premium suites. I guarantee you every one of them will be sold by the time construction is finished. "Let us end the ambivalence and do the best job we can developing revenue for our athletic departments," NCAA President Myles Brand told athletic directors at a convention in January. "Athletics, like the university as a whole, seeks to maximize revenues. In this respect, it has an obligation to conduct it's revenue generating activities in a productive, sound, and businesslike manner." Ut was listed as one of the profitable schools at the bottom of the article. I suggest that those schools that are unprofitable should have their regents attend their own business school. While it could be argued that The University of Texas plays with a stacked deck (in regard tonot having to fund non-athletic programs with football revenues), I say it is stacked no more in their favor than say, uh, The New York Yankees, and that those who wish to compete had better run their business efficiently and profitably. As we all know, not every business succeeds, some fall by the wayside, and maybe, the direction that NCAA football is going points towards more 'haves and more have nots', but 1 thing for sure, it is the public's appetite for NCAA (and high school) football, and the opportunity to maximize revenues, that is driving the commercialization of these sports, and the ensuing higher costs of hiring an adequate coach.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:14 AM on August 30

The characteristics ascribed to the University of Texas also apply to that other school in College Station.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:29 AM on August 30

the often touted belief that they are massively profitable appears to be a myth. I do not say that all football programs are profitable You said "many D1 colleges". What my link shows is that "few" would be a more accurate descriptor than "many". From the article you linked: "the university's (The University of Texas) regents approved another $150 million to further remodel and expand the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Expected to be completed in 2008, the project will add another 10,000 seats and 44 premium suites. I guarantee you every one of them will be sold by the time construction is finished. I'm not taking that bet. But what does that have to do with profit? Answer: nothing. As we all know, not every business succeeds, some fall by the wayside, and maybe, the direction that NCAA football is going points towards more 'haves and more have nots', but 1 thing for sure, it is the public's appetite for NCAA (and high school) football, and the opportunity to maximize revenues, that is driving the commercialization of these sports, and the ensuing higher costs of hiring an adequate coach. There are large issues being swept under the rug here, such as whether college athletic programs should be considered as businesses...but as long as you're going to go there, as long as you're going to use b-school phraseology in order to try and justify the preeminance of football, let's not forget that there is many a business that focused on "maximizing revenue" and failed miserably, because they forgot that revenue != profit. Big revenue = big name = big status = big ego = gosh aren't we all that. As long as you're going to be a business, which would you rather be: United Airlines or Southwest?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:36 AM on August 30

What does that have to do with profit? Answer: nothing. So, we are to assume that all the new stadiums built in recent years, and all the remodeling of older stadiums for the express purpose of adding luxury suites and/or seating to maximize profits, were doing so in a failed business sense? United or Southwest? Southwest, by far. Herb Kelleher could teach a lot of people how to run a business.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:46 AM on August 30

What does that have to do with profit? Answer: nothing. So, we are to assume that all the new stadiums built in recent years, and all the remodeling of older stadiums for the express purpose of adding luxury suites and/or seating to maximize profits, were doing so in a failed business sense? mjk, "Revenue" and "profits" are two different words, with two different meanings. You can't swap one for the other and claim to be making a point. United or Southwest? Southwest, by far. Herb Kelleher could teach a lot of people how to run a business. He sure could, because his focus was always on profitability rather than on maximum revenue. Two. Different. Things.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:18 PM on August 30

mjk, "Revenue" and "profits" are two different words, with two different meanings. You can't swap one for the other and claim to be making a point. No, but neither can you say this with a straight face about the 10,000-seat expansion of UT's stadium: But what does that have to do with profit? Answer: nothing. I'm thinking you're saying that some businesses expand just to be grandiose or for egotistical reasons, and I'd have to agree. However, I'd also bet the University of Texas has pretty strong reasons to expand and add revenue streams, and it ain't to decrease profiability.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:47 PM on August 30

No, but neither can you say this with a straight face about the 10,000-seat expansion of UT's stadium: I just did. Are you trying to promote the idea that building a new stadium, or making a big fat addition on an old one, always leads to heaps o' profit? Show me where expanding a stadium is a gold-plated guarantee that you'll be profitable. No funny accounting, no "one-time charge", show me. I'm thinking you're saying that some businesses expand just to be grandiose or for egotistical reasons, and I'd have to agree. However, I'd also bet the University of Texas has pretty strong reasons to expand and add revenue streams, and it ain't to decrease profiability. I was long since disillusioned of the notion that so-called institutions of higher learning never do anything for grandiose or egotistical reasons -- hell, I lived in Boston during the heyday of John Silbur. Sorry, you can make whatever bets you want with your money, but don't ask me to buy it unless you show me somethng other than your hunch.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:24 PM on August 30

mjk, "revenue" and "profits" are two different words, with two different meanings. If you only knew how long I've been trying to get that right... And since we are speaking of The University of By Gawd Texas, it is well within the realm of possibility that something would be done for grandiose, or, egotistical reasons, but I think that the stadium expansion is a pretty sure bet. Jerry Jones is buildin' hisself a new one too, and you can bet there will be plenty of ego involved in that deal. I agree, that us Texicans may place a little too much emphasis on football, and we don't pay our teachers what they deserve, but our Governor, Rick Perry, (who buys his hair from the same place as Jimmy Johnson, by the way) has promised to rectify this injustice, and I'm pretty sure he will.

posted by mjkredliner at 06:22 PM on August 30

And since we are speaking of The University of By Gawd Texas, it is well within the realm of possibility that something would be done for grandiose, or, egotistical reasons, but I think that the stadium expansion is a pretty sure bet. Okay, so you've got information you're not choosing to share. That's fine with me; I'll just reserve my right to doubt, then.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:33 PM on August 30

Well, lbb, it isn't that I don't want to share it, it's just not at my fingertips presently, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that: Texas stadium, home of the Cowboys, seats 65,000, Memorial Stadium, home of the Longhorns, seats about 80,000, and tickets for Cowboys games are much easier to find. And, there is no shortage of well to do alumni waiting in the wings for the "premium suites" at Memorial Stadium, you can bet your boots on that.

posted by mjkredliner at 06:53 PM on August 30

mjk, I'm not doubting you at all that they can get butts in all the seats; I'm sure you've been to the games and your eyeballs have given you all the evidence that's necessary. I'm just wary to accept that a full stadium automatically equals profit, unless you're going to ignore the capital cost of building the thing in the first place, operational costs. etc. Big programs have big incomes and big expenses, and some of the expenses are not so obvious. This last spring, the CU football team and its runaway expenses (much of which was caused by stupid personnel moves and moves by stupid personnel) were the death of the men's tennis program, which had been around since 1915. They shot a great program in the head because of the fiscal irresponsibility of others; when you have to pay off two head coaches' contracts, it don't come cheap. At CU and at too many other schools, football is only "profitable" if other programs pay the cost.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:24 PM on August 30

Yes, I agree, lbb. What happened in Boulder the last couple of years is very ugly stuff, but I don't think for one second that it only happened/happens there. And CU is a BIG time school, with a BIG time athletic budget, and yet, they are the only Big 12 school that does not field a baseball team. And, how successful was their tennis team? Was it mens tennis, or both the womens and mens teams that were dissolved? I know that they are always a factor in deciding the NCAA Skiing championships, and that program is bound to cost much more than the tennis program. I doubt that it was an easy decision for those that made it. I have read that some inner city high schools may have to quit offering athletic and/or music programs entirely, due to budget problems/lack of support/legalities, etc etc. In my mind, that would be one of the worst things that could happen to kids attending those schools. It is a broad generalization, but I have always believed in the idea that kids are less likely to get in trouble if they are somehow occupied with athletics or other extra-curricular activities that involve adult guidance, and I am thankful that we do not have those difficulties that other school districts across the country face. But, I also think, that if those things are important to a school district/community, they will not let those programs cease to exist, that they will find a way to keep them going, regardless of cost. Of course, this is an outsiders perspective, and I truly have no idea what it would take for some schools to adhere to my uppity beliefs. Sometimes, all one can do is shake their head and ask why.

posted by mjkredliner at 09:18 PM on August 30

And, how successful was their tennis team? Was it mens tennis, or both the womens and mens teams that were dissolved? It was the men's team. The women's program is still there. The program was doing well and improving -- they were ranked 25th in April, their highest ranking. They ended the season at 23rd and went to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1988, and finished third in the Big 12. I know that they are always a factor in deciding the NCAA Skiing championships, and that program is bound to cost much more than the tennis program. I doubt that it was an easy decision for those that made it. I'm not sure, but I believe that the ski teams come up with a lot of their own funding and work their own deals for a lot of expenses. It's defintely not the case that the school is buying race skis for the teams -- they'll get pro deals for the kids, but ski team members almost always buy their own gear. As for the tennis team, axing it was a pretty stupid decision. Bohn (the current AD) wasn't responsible for the screwups that led to the fiscal problems, but this decision and his handling of it was stupid. He clearly thought that nobody would care except the team and the coaches. Instead, there was a lot of reaction from the community. There was a grassroots effort to raise a million dollars to endow the program for three years; $660,000 got raised in eight weeks, and Bohn decided to shut it down anyway, not even give an extension to raise the rest of the money. I'll admit to a personal connection: I've hit at the CU tennis complex, I've watched the team play, and I know the head coach, who's a gentleman and a scholar. I was one of the people who kicked in, in vain, to try and save the team. It's hard not to want to spit all over college football when this kind of thing happens over and over again. I have read that some inner city high schools may have to quit offering athletic and/or music programs entirely, due to budget problems/lack of support/legalities, etc etc. In my mind, that would be one of the worst things that could happen to kids attending those schools. It is a broad generalization, but I have always believed in the idea that kids are less likely to get in trouble if they are somehow occupied with athletics or other extra-curricular activities that involve adult guidance, and I am thankful that we do not have those difficulties that other school districts across the country face. Agreed except for the "inner city" generalization. I live in a rural area, and it's the same set of issues without exception. But, I also think, that if those things are important to a school district/community, they will not let those programs cease to exist, that they will find a way to keep them going, regardless of cost. Of course, this is an outsiders perspective, and I truly have no idea what it would take for some schools to adhere to my uppity beliefs. Sometimes, all one can do is shake their head and ask why. But they've got mandates that require them to offer certain programs; they've got heat on them to meet certain minimums on standardized tests. They have to do those things -- that's where the money goes to first. You can be as determined as you want and raise taxes all you want and have all the bake sales you want, but if nimrods somewhere else vote in an educational mandate that says that you have to jump through all these hoops because of some No Chld's Behind Left law, there goes the money you raised. And you have to heat the building too, which doesn't mean a thing in much of the country, but up here in the north it costs a damn fortune. Costs go up, mandates increase...anything even vaguely optional gets axed. It's not so much a matter of local choices.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:55 PM on August 30

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