“Find something you love to do, and then convince people to pay you for it. As long as it’s something legal.”
That was the advice from my high school band director to a group of upperclassmen as we faced college and career decisions. We thought it was fairly original, but a look at this map from WTHR-TV shows that at least one group of professionals heard similar advice and ran with it.
That’s the only way I can wrap my head around the fact that 39 of the 50 states have a sports coach as the highest paid public employee.
Clearly these individuals found something they loved (sports) and convinced someone to pay them, and handsomely, for it.
But are the coaches really the ones to blame? It’s not their fault that their chosen career path leads to high salaries. That’s the fault of our culture deciding that sports, especially college ones, take priority over just about anything.
The map shows 25 football coaches, 12 basketball coaches and one hockey coach making more money than any other public employee. That includes police, firefighters and all non-coaching college and university employees. Do we really think that’s right?
Of the states that don’t have a coach as the employee getting paid the most, four list college presidents, two list medical school deans and listed in one state each are a medical school plastic surgeon, a medical school department chair, a medical school chancellor and a law school dean.
Another interesting thing this map shows us is that for the most part, the Northeast tends to pay academics better than their coaches. I guess there’s still something to be said for the New England schools.
How is that fair to the rest of students attending colleges and universities in the rest of the United States? Shouldn’t they be provided the opportunity to receive an education from an institution that places academic achievement higher than that of sports?
On the other side of the coin, I suppose you could say that having a predominant sports program draws in students, thus making the campus bigger and hopefully providing better opportunities in and out of the classroom.
Whatever side of the issue you are on, it must be said that higher education places an immense amount of priority on sports and the men and women who coach them. Think of what could be done if just a fraction of their salaries were allocated to any other program.
It surely would be somewhat easier for those of us who aren’t sports minded to find what we loved and get paid (decently) for it.
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