Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
We enjoy watching the fruits of their labor every Friday night under the lights of Boot Hill Stadium. We put the lives of youngsters into their hands with the hope that they will be able to help mold them into productive young men. Often, they are the only positive male role models these young men have. With very few exceptions, these adults succeed in positively shaping the lives of the young athletes entrusted to their care – into good citizens, fathers and men. They will tell you they do not do the job of coaching for the money. Without exception, these coaches undertake the task of coaching simply for the love of these young athletes.
According to information provided by the Madison County School District, the Madison County High School (MCHS) varsity head football coach is paid an annual supplemental salary of $4,339. One of the varsity assistant football coaches is paid an annual supplemental salary of $2,893. The remaining seven varsity football assistant coaches are paid an annual supplemental salary of $2,651. According to the School District, these figures are based on a point system that takes into consideration three factors: time, staff and pressure/responsibility. Time is the amount of extra time after the normal school day the activity is expected to take. Staff is the number of aides or assistants supervised during the activity. Pressure/responsibility refers to the number of students involved in the activity; the amount of public exposure; critical appraisals involved in the activity with regard to public exposure, health and safety of individuals involved in the activity; morale, leadership and coordinating ability needed to successfully discharge the extra duties; budget expended and value of the equipment or facilities involved in the extra duties. A point value is assigned to each of these factors. A dollar amount per point is negotiated each year during collective bargaining. Any adjustments to the amount of the supplemental salary is not automatic and must be negotiated each year. When asked, Madison County School District Chief Human Capital Officer Sam Stalnaker stated that he was not sure when the supplemental salary amounts were last adjusted.
According to Jetta Roberts, President of the Madison County Education Association, the local teacher's union, it has been at least six years since there has been an adjustment to the supplemental salaries for the district. A new amount for these supplemental salaries is in the process of being negotiated now.
According to figures supplied from the Athletic Director at MCHS, coaches with the varsity football program contribute between 30 and 35 hours per week to the varsity football program during the football season. Based on 31 hours per week during a 16-week football season, this amounts to 496 hours devoted per coach to the varsity football program. Using these figures, the head football coach is paid approximately $8.75 per hour, one assistant football coach is paid approximately $5.83 per hour and the remaining seven varsity assistant football coaches are paid approximately $5.34 per hour. This does not take into account the 12 hours per week the coaches work during the summer months, which is volunteer, unpaid time.
"Athletics is a big deal around here and we have great kids and athletes to work with, but a huge part of that is the men and women who coach those kids and sacrifice so much to get them ready to play and ready for life," said MCHS Head Varsity Football Coach and Athletic Director Mike Coe. "Name me another job that any sane person would stay at without getting a raise? I've been here 16 years and the supplements have been raised once! Nobody spends more time with our young people than our coaches."
"We are definitely underpaid for what we do," said MCHS Head Varsity Basketball Coach Allen Demps. "A lot of unpaid hours goes into coaching. I think the problem is that the district only pays us for the season, not the offseason. In order to win at this level, the offseason is so important. Here's a number for you: as a basketball coach we're paid $2,800 as the head coach and $1,700 for the assistant/junior varsity coach. Right across the bridge in Georgia, they're making $10,000 plus. Not complaining about the pay at all, but it will be nice to get a bump in pay. It'll only benefit the kids anyway because out of a year's time that money is filtered right back into the kids (rides, taking them on college visits and buying meals)."
The Madison County School District has allocated a total of $79,618 in supplemental salaries among 36 athletic supplemental positions for this year. The District has allocated a total of $21,967 in supplemental salaries among 20 academic supplemental positions. The total allocated for all supplemental positions is $101,585.
As with many other issues, this will eventually boil down to what the school district is willing to offer and what the teacher's union is willing to accept. In the meantime, a dedicated group of adults will continue to work tirelessly for the sake of the young people of our community, if for no other reason than their love of the game and their greater love of the youth of Madison County.