According to a recent infographic published by Deadspin, Massachusetts is one of only 10 states whose highest paid public employee is not a college coach.
“Based on data drawn from media reports and state salary databases, the ranks of the highest-paid active public employees include 27 football coaches, 13 basketball coaches, [and] one hockey coach,” Deadspin reports.
Of the remaining 10 states where coaching isn’t the highest paid public position, four employees (in Vermont, Delaware, Montana, and Alaska) are college presidents, one (Maine) is a law school dean, and the rest hold prestigious positions with various medical schools, either as department chairs (New York), deans (North and South Dakota), plastic surgeons (Nevada), or chancellors (Massachusetts).
Michael F. Collins, the UMass Medical School Chancellor, earned over $760,000 last year, the Springfield Republican reports.
Just south of the Valley, Connecticut’s highest public salary belongs to Geno Auriemma, head coach of the women’s basketball team, who this spring won their eighth national championship. At season’s end, Auriemma signed a five-year contract extension that will pay him close to $2 million each year, peaking at $2.4 million in 2017, according to the UConn Athletics website. The University of Rhode Island’s men’s basketball coach and New Hampshire’s men’s hockey coach round out the New England region.
“Far exceeding these base salaries is the “additional compensation” that almost all of these coaches receive, which is tied to media appearances, apparel contracts, and fundraising,” continues Deadspin. “While this compensation does not come directly from the state fund it is guaranteed in the coaches’ contracts; if revenue falls short, the school—and thus the state—is on the hook to cover the difference.”
Of the 27 football coaches, however, many head teams that actually make money for the university, as is the case with the University of Texas, The Ohio State University, Louisiana State University, and Oklahoma University, all of which rank in the top 10 for total revenue generated by public university football programs, and all of which receive no subsidies from student fees or state funds, according to a USA Today study of college athletic finances, which looks at “expense reports collected from more than 225 public schools in the NCAA’s Division I” from 2006-2011.
By contrast, the UConn football program, which is part of the Big East conference, received 23.8 percent of its revenue from the university, while fellow Big East school Rutgers (New Jersey’s state university) got 47.3 percent, the study shows. The University of Massachusetts, which played its first Division I season last year as part of the MAC (Mid-American Conference), subsidized 80.9 percent of its football program’s operating budget during those years, which is a higher amount than former Colonial Athletic Division foes from the state universities of both New Hampshire (69.9 percent), and Rhode Island (74.5 percent).
(Originally appeared in The Valley Advocate.)