Category Archives: Coaches

Moneyball Meets March Madness

Guest author: Dr. Michael Lorenzen

Dr. Michael Lorenzen is the principal owner of Collegiate Athletics Strategy Advising, a firm that provides advisement services to collegiate athletics administrators. He’s also a frequent guest contributor to

As we approach the most exciting and intense time of year for collegiate basketball, the amount of attention and financial stakes associated with March Madness should give collegiate athletic administrators an opportunity to reflect on the state of their programs.  Universities invest millions of dollars in basketball coaches and the dream of making it into the NCAA Tournament.  With 68 spots and 344 schools it seems as if there are many opportunities for schools to participate in the dance.

The financial challenges of maintaining basketball are not quite as frightening as football, given that teams carry a fifth of the players, have fewer coaches, and proportionately smaller scale needs for things like training facilities, equipment and recruiting.  Chartering airplanes multiple times per week can get pricey, but basketball doesn’t raise the same kind of red flags for administrators that the overwhelming price tag of big time football does.  It also holds out the promise of prominence and profit with Cinderella stories and quick turnarounds that are more difficult to find in football.

Nonetheless, there is real and substantial money involved and the coaching carousel will go into full swing as athletic directors evaluate what’s happening with the one program in their portfolio that has the potential to make money (at least for the 224 schools that don’t have Division I football).  As one athletic director recently asked me to start creating a potential candidate pool, I thought it might make sense to take an analytical swing at evaluating what kind of value various coaches bring to their schools.

Part of the genius of “Moneyball” was the application of well-considered statistics to a field of performance in a way that was very different than the norm practiced by insiders in the baseball world.  Billy Beane and others found ways to optimize their investment in players by considering tangible, quantifiable contributors to value that were nonetheless not the sorts of things that baseball people consider.

With college coaches, the metrics most people point to are win-loss records, post-season appearances, championship wins, and, to a lesser degree, academic performance.  In order to dig a little deeper, I pulled together some easily research-able measures that would indicate objectively the kind of value that coaches contribute.  I included number of wins, Sagarin rating, total compensation (including bonus), attendance, and program profitability (total revenues minus total expenses), all using data from the 2011 season.  I experimented with different weights and could easily be convinced to adjust them, but for the purposes of this analysis I used the following:

Wins               20%

Sagarin          10%

Attendance   15%

Profitability    55%

I made an effort to scale each measure up or down to create comparable ranges (e.g. wins are in the 20 range and salaries are in the millions), so wins were multiplied by 10,000 and Sagarin by 3,300.  That yielded what I’ll call a “performance value”, which was a number in the millions for most programs.

To evaluate the value that each coach brought, I then applied that performance value number to the compensation number, yielding a “performance value per dollar of compensation”.  All of that math ended up yielding numbers that ranged from a high of 4.97 (Jim Boeheim at Syracuse) to a low of .05 (Leonard Hamilton at Florida State) for the 68 teams that were in the 2011 Tournament and have publicly available salary data for their coaches (10 did not).

Granted that a snapshot from a single season is not statistically compelling compared to a trend over several years, but given the short time horizons under which coaches often operate the results still reveal some interesting conclusions.

The first slide, below, looks at some of the iconic coaches in the NCAA–all men who one might predict to deliver outstanding value given their records and salaries.

All had fairly successful seasons from a competitive, profitability, and attendance perspective and their value numbers give an idea of what “good” performance might look like.

Next up we have the top 10 performers, which tells a different story than that of the icons listed above.

The reason that all of these coaches have dramatically higher value ratings than their iconic colleagues is mostly that their salaries are substantially lower (with the exception of Sean Miller at Arizona).  They deliver significant value in terms of wins, attendance, and overall profitability of their programs but they take a much smaller piece of the upside for themselves.  If I’m an athletic administrator, my interpretation is that they are generating a very good return for my investment in them.

Finally, if I am an administrator at a small school with limited resources, I might look for coaches who are delivering good value in return for compensation that fits within my budgetary parameters.  Here is the list of the top 10 value coaches who made less than $250,000 in 2011:

Eddie Biedenbeck had a remarkable year and the administration at UNC-Asheville should be tickled with the overall value that he and his team delivered.  There is a nice grouping of coaches ranked #32 to #42, all of whom would cost a school less than $200,000 per year and still have the potential to deliver value.  It is worth noting that the scale of that value in terms of gross profits or attendance will not be comparable to what a Duke or Syracuse might seek.  However, if you’re representing a school with an overall budget that is a fifth or less of those universities, you might do well to focus on terrific value as a starting place for your coaching search.

Grading This Year’s Coaching Hires (Part 1)

With the detailed information on the finances of college sports you receive here at, it should come as no surprise that BCS football programs are not “fun and games” or “just sports” to administrators and athletic departments. The difference between a winning and a losing football program on a school’s budget is pronounced. Thus, the difference between making the right or wrong coaching hire is as well.

The SEC is one conference, by and large, that has hired the right coaches and those coaches have succeeded. Among 2011 coaching salaries, six SEC coaches rank among the top 11 in the country in compensation (Saban, Miles, Petrino, Richt, Chizik, Muschamp, with Urban Meyer preceding him in high compensation rank). Those coaches have not only led SEC teams to six straight national titles, but those crystal balls, the television contracts, and national reputation of the conference have in turn led to six SEC mens athletic programs with recruiting budgets in excess of one million dollars annually for the 2010-2011 academic years. Success begets success begets even more success.

Yes, one can easily argue the SEC’s unprecedented run of success began with great hires. Hiring the right man is the challenge that faced 13 BCS conference schools this offseason. The coaching climate today is a harsh one. Patience is a word lost in among an administration’s vernacular. The days of the five-year plan are long gone. Turner Gill lost his desk nameplate after just two seasons in Lawrence, Kansas, and 27 out of 120 FBS schools (22.5%) made coaching changes this offseason.

Therefore, it’s only natural I provide you with my hit and miss predictions for each of the 13 BCS schools who have hired a new coach for 2012. A second opinion is provided by friend and fellow sports media colleague, Brent Beaird.

13. Todd Graham – Arizona State

Analysis: Where or where have our principles ventured off to? Used to be that we valued honor and commitment. Yet when a man (term used loosely) like Todd Graham is able to climb the collegiate ranks, one wonders what has happened to “The Golden Rule.” Yes, I’m fully aware that Graham led Rice, a perennial doormat, Rice, to a 7-6 record in 2006. That his 36-17 mark at Tulsa was a marginal uptick over Steve Kragthorpe’s 29-22 in the four years prior there, and finally that his 6-6 standing at Pitt this past season did little to under or overwhelm. Yet I must wonder aloud about the quality of the message we’re sending the very young people that Graham is supposed to be mentoring. What’s being conveyed is that in life, you win at all costs, that you may break protocol if it suits you, that one can show not an ounce of gratitude and/or loyalty yet still find promotion around every corner. Here’s a coach who left Rice only a few days after being rewarded with an extension and a significant raise, who left Pitt after but one season via a text to an assistant coach, who then had to relay the impersonal communication method to the players. I struggle not to stoop to name calling when discussing Graham. I’ve often been told, “You get what you give.” That said, perhaps the nation’s most notorious party school and Todd Graham are a perfect fit. Grade: F   Rank: 13/13.

Brent’s Second Opinion: Todd Graham of Arizona State-Graham has a lot of trust to build after leaving two schools in a six-year period after only one year Grade: (D+) Rank: 13/13

12. Bill O’Brien – Penn State University

Analysis: A hearty congratulations is in order to Bill O’Brien,  former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, for he has managed to significantly out kick his coverage. To use an all-too common analogy, O’Brien represents the “average joe” who just landed a supermodel. Upon witnessing a couple such as this walk into an establishment, everyone in the place is thinking the same thing – “There goes a guy who owns a plane.” But I’m not here to hate. It could work out for the “We Are Penn State-ers” in Happy Valley. I’m just not sure that it will. Penn State managed to find itself in the tenuous position of a “grass is always greener dumper,” failing to realize what it had until it was gone, then in total desperation, accepting the first smiling face that took a flier. This past season, O’Brien was seen throwing a sideline temper tantrum at “The Franchise,” Tom Brady, one in which Brady took the high road but O’Brien’s reputation never fully recovered from. And while his 14 years as an assistant and an offensive coordinator in the college ranks don’t leave his resume bare, of all offensive coordinators either active or inactive with four plus years of experience dating back to 2001, only three have engineered offenses that averaged fewer than 30 points per game.  Grade: D+   Rank: 13/14

Brent’s Second Opinion: Bill O’Brien of Penn State-Don’t forget he had 14 years of experience at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke. Grade:(C)   Rank: 10/13.

11. Tim Beckman – Illinois

Analysis: In the landscape of college football today, seemingly every “have not” football program treks across the desert looking for the next Urban Meyer. And without fail, at introductory press conferences, athletic and PR departments do a yeoman’s job convincing you they’ve found him. For me to offer the full-fledged “Beckman Buy-In,” however, I need a more thorough body of work than what presently appears on Beckman’s resume:

  • All of three years of head coaching experience at Toledo.
  • A record of 21-16, leaving before the bowl game in ’11.
  • Offenses that averaged 33ppg, defenses that gave up 32.

It is the opinion of the author that the MAC and their intra-conference competition provides a level playing field among the 13 member institutions. Therefore, an average coach should win as many as he loses in this league. Beckman’s three-year mark does little to move the proverbial needle, although if one can look past the small sample size, 16-9 in the final two campaigns does offer some hope. Whether Beckman can achieve success in a conference with the history and prestige of the Big 10 is an entirely different and unanswered question. Grade: C   Rank: 11/14

Brent’s Second Opinion: Tim Beckman of Illinois-Beckman has valuable coaching experience as the head man at Toledo and from working with Meyer at Bowling Green Grade:  (B-)   Rank:8/13.

Marc Ryan is a sports talk radio personality in the Florida Panhandle. You can follow him on Twitter: @marcryanonair.

Beyond Fundamentals: The Story of Bob Stitt and the Colorado School of Mines Football Team

On January 4, 2012, college football fans watched as the West Virginia University Mountaineers scored 70 points–the most points scored by one team in a bowl game–against the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl.  WVU wide receiver Tavon Austin, who runs the 40-yard-dash in 4.3 seconds, scored four touchdowns using a play that stumped Clemson’s defense.

After the game, a reporter commented to WVU head coach Dana Halgorsen, “The guys are still trying to figure out that one play that was successful for multiple touchdowns.  It’s recorded as a pass, but it kind of  looks like a volleyball tap-toss.  What is that?”

Halgorsen, smiling, responded, “Well, my good friend Bob Stitt at the Colorado School of Mines, gave me that.”

In 2000, Bob Stitt received the head coaching position at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado–a town, which prior to Stitt’s arrival prided itself more upon the beer Coors Brewing Company makes than its college football team.  Prior to arriving at Mines, Stitt worked as an offensive coordinator at Austin College in Texas and at the esteemed Harvard University.  Before Stitt began his coaching tenure at Mines, the last coach to record more wins than losses during a career was the coaching duo of Elmer Capshaw and Tim Calahan, with a 4-2-1 record which was earned in the 1922-1923 season.

Colorado School of Mines head football coach Bob Stitt. Photo credit: Colorado School of Mines.

When Stitt arrived at Mines, he was met with a $5,500.00 recruiting budget.  “That wasn’t even going to send anyone anywhere.  We just had to recruit in the Denver area and foot the bill ourselves,” noted Stitt.

However, in 2004, the face of the Mines football program began to change.

On July 27, 2004, a 6’7″ kicker who was on the honor roll each semester he was at Mines, was driving home to Colorado after completing an internship in California.  Scott Hahn was looking forward to starting his senior year and returning to Golden for football camp.  The long-legged Hahn was a talented kicker who also showed skill in punting.  There were rumblings that his abilities could land him in the NFL.  However, with his kind disposition and impressive academic record, there was no question that Hahn would become a successful professional, whether it was in the NFL or elsewhere.

Driving through Utah, Hahn fell asleep behind the wheel of his car.  His car ultimately rolled several times.  Hahn was taken to a hospital, where he later passed away at the tender age of 21.

On a morning in early August 2004, when in previous years, his teammates would have been busy on the gridiron during two-a-days, Hahn’s teammates were dressed in freshly pressed black suits and sitting in the front pews of a Catholic Church in Hahn’s hometown of Aurora, Colorado.

Stitt eulogized Hahn.  He mentioned that the previous season, Hahn came into Stitt’s office and asked to change his number to 12.  Hahn could not give a serious reason for why he wanted to change his number, but he knew he wanted to.  Stitt granted his request and during his junior season, Hahn played as number 12.

Perhaps it was premonition, or maybe it was just a 20 year-old who on a whim, felt like wearing the number 12.  However, one thing is certain:  the Mines football team had found its 12th man.

In that moment, the nature and culture of Mines football changed.

In 2004, the Mines football team dedicated its season to its fallen teammate, Scott Hahn. # 12 patches were sown onto the chests of player’s jerseys.  Paper reminders were posted in the locker room of what the team was striving to do for Scott:  Win every game.

That season, the Mines football team recorded its best record in school history.  The team went 12-1, losing a bitter playoff game in Pittsburg, Kansas at a place called “The Jungle.”  That season, the team went 8-0 in its conference, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.  Its quarterback, Chad Friehauf, won the Harlen Hill Award, which is Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

Today, at the west end of Brooks Field, a memorial dedicated to fallen player Scott Hahn--the 12th Man Memorial--stands. Photo credit: Alicia Jessop.

While the premature death of Hahn arguably fueled the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers to win on the football field in 2004, the coaching of the team by Stitt during that season and in subsequent years provided the team with the skills necessary to be competitive.

Perhaps what has made Stitt the most successful football coach in Mines history, is his ability to be an innovative play maker.  That innovation is what the world learned about when WVU’s Holgorsen credited him with the play which ultimately led the Mountaineers to score the most points in a bowl game.

In 2003, Mines began running the Fly Sweep play in practice.  It is a play intended to get the football into the hands of the wide receiver.  The play without any modification is risky, because it involves the quarterback remaining stationary while the receiver runs at full speed.  If the receiver doesn’t slow down while making the play, the team runs the risk of fumbling the ball.

That season, Stitt realized that the play was taking too much time to practice for the amount of benefits Mines was receiving from it.  As coaches do, Stitt continued to break down the play in his head to determine what he could do to make it successful.

“One day, it just hit me.  Why don’t we put it up in the air?  It was kind of like a reverse, and a lot of the time, you just put the reverse in the air.  If we did that, the kid doesn’t have to slow down and if he drops it, it’s an incomplete pass, because it is a forward pass.  Just a simple little change like that made it so effective,” Stitt explained.

Yes, Coach Stitt, a simple little change.  A simple little change, that apparently Stitt was the only coach in the country to grasp onto and teach his team.

Using the modified Fly Sweep play in 2004, Mines was able to break the school’s season passing record with 4,766 yards.  That year, it also broke the school’s completions record (401) and yards in a season record (6,894).  In 2004, the Orediggers scored an impressive 515 points.

What Stitt was able to do with a group of engineers that season was not lost on other coaches.

Then the head coach at Texas Tech, Mike Leach contacted Stitt about trading film, because he wanted to see how the Orediggers were running the ball so well in a passing offense.  According to Stitt, Leach was impressed with what he saw.  Holgorsen was an assistant coach under Leach, so it is likely then that Holgorsen first was introduced to Stitt’s Fly Sweep play, or what Holgorsen calls, “Quick.”

Later, Holgorsen would become the offensive coordinator at the University of Houston, a program long recognized for scoring many points.  With quarterback phenom Case Keenum, Houston has only kept up with its notoriety of scoring many points.  Under Holgorsen and today, Houston uses Stitt’s Fly Sweep play.  Stitt himself was there when Keenum learned how to properly complete the play.

After meeting Holgorsen two years prior at a One-Back Clinic, Stitt found himself in Houston for a Mines alumni golf tournament fundraiser.

“We played it in the morning.  We got done and it was early afternoon, so I went over to the University of Houston to see if they were practicing.  I knew that Dana had gotten the job there, and I walked right onto the field.  Dana was working with the quarterbacks and he kind of noticed me.  He said, “what are you doing here?” and asked if I saw him running the Fly Sweep.  I asked him why they weren’t putting it into the air.  He said he had forgotten that part of the play,” said Stitt.

Thereafter, Stitt showed Keenum how to run the play.  It took Stitt three minutes to instruct the quarterback how to run the play.  Since then, Houston has relied heavily on the play to amass points.

Much has changed in Golden, Colorado since Stitt began his tenure as the Orediggers’ head football coach.

Downtown Golden has been completely renovated.  Mines has greatly increased its student population.  And the football team has seen winning seasons since 2004.

Today, Stitt’s recruiting budget is much larger than the $5,500.00 he was met with in 2000.  Stitt estimates the team spendss $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 in recruiting new players.  However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the method by which Mines recruits–a method unique to the school’s rigorous academic curriculum.

To put into perspective the rigor of Mines’ academic curriculum, in 2006 and 2007, Mines played in a post-season bowl game, the Dixie Rotary Bowl in St. George, Utah.  The game fell during finals for Mines students.  Given this, after 2007, Stitt told the RMAC commissioner that Mines would never go back to play int eh game.

How many other college coaches in America are telling their commissioners that they can’t go to a bowl game because it interferes with their players’ finals?

That being said, when recruiting, the first thing Stitt looks at is not how fast a kid can run the 40-yard-dash or how much he can bench press.

“We recruit transcripts first.  You have to see what kind of classes they’re taking and how they score in math and science.  We look at the film later, once we have a pool of kids who could do the engineering curriculum at Mines.  Then, we recruit the best of those kids.  We’ve been really successful getting engineers who can play football,” said Stitt.

A 51-17 conference record.  Four players who have made it to the NFL.  An team-average ACT score of 29.

It is safe to say, that Stitt has brought success to Mines football.

And its safe to say, we’ll be seeing his Fly Sweep play when the Orediggers take Brooks Field this fall.

College Coach’s Salaries: Big 10

The final conference to be evaluated in’s College Coach’s Salary Series is the Big 10.

The data used for this analysis was obtained from reports filed by each school with the U.S. Department of Education, as required by Title IX.  These reports are the only public documentation  providing numbers for every school, because private schools are not subject to public records requests, yet have to file their data with the U.S. Department of Education.  The data reported is from the reporting year of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.

Illinois Men’s:  $520,421.00 Men’s:  $168,642.00
Women’s:  $128,463.00 Women’s:  $61,269.00
Indiana Men’s: $405,149.00 Men’s:  $94,399.00
Women’s:  $92,736.00 Women’s:  $49,083.00
Iowa Men’s:  $654,573.00 Men’s:  $162,341.00
Women’s:  $165,012.00 Women’s:  $61,982.00
Michigan Men’s:  $509,903.00 Men’s:  $131,335.00
Women’s:  $135,577.00 Women’s:  $60,001.00
Michigan State Men’s:  $626,481.00 Men’s:  $101,917.00
Women’s:  $115,172.00 Women’s:  $47,721.00
Minnesota Men’s:  $597,421.00 Men’s:  $172,222.00
Women’s:  $166,597.00 Women’s:  $70,720.00
Nebraska Men’s:  $567,004.00 Men’s:  $174,590.00
Women’s:  $201,318.00 Women’s:  $82,144.00
Northwestern Men’s:  $379,545.00 Men’s:  $121,582.00
Women’s:  $127,795.00 Women’s:  $51,758.00
Ohio State Men’s:  $488,098.00 Men’s:  $138,691.00
Women’s:  $160,257.00 Women’s:  $56,202.00
Penn State Men’s:  $262,492.00 Men’s:  $107,441.00
Women’s:  $167,317.00 Women’s:  $59,540.00
Purdue Men’s:  $429,070.00 Men’s:  $105,064.00
Women’s:  $156,080.00 Women’s:  $58,104.00
Wisconsin Men’s:  $444,800.00 Men’s:  $111,631.00
Women’s:  $123,373.00 Women’s:  $46,207.00

The average salary of men’s sports head coaches in the Big 10 is $490,413.10, while their women’s sports counterparts earned $144,974.80 on average.  Head coaches of men’s sports in the Big 10 earned on average, 3.38 times as much as head coaches of women’s sports in the Big 10.

The highest average salary paid to men’s sports head coaches was paid by Iowa, while the highest average salary paid to women’s sports head coaches was paid by Nebraska.  Nebraska is also home to the highest average men’s and women’s sports assistant coaching salaries.

Surprisingly, the lowest average men’s sports head coaching salary was paid by Penn State.  Previously, explained that the highest paid college sports head coach in Pennsylvania was not Joe Paterno of Penn State, but Pittsburgh’s men’s basketball coach, Jamie Dixon.

The lowest average women’s sports head coaching salary is paid by Indiana, which is also home to lowest average men’s sports assistant coaching salary.

Check back later this week, when wraps up the series by showing which conferences coaches are paid the highest, which are paid the lowest, and which conference is home to the greatest disparity between how much men’s sports and women’s sports coaches are paid.

Trailblazer: The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund

For the last 38 years, a prominent feature on the sideline of University of Tennessee women’s basketball games has been a woman who coached her teams to win basketball games by championing hard work, ethics, respect and responsibility.

During the 1974-75 season, a 22 year-old Pat Summitt was named the head coach of the Lady Vols basketball team.  This was in an age when the NCAA did not sanction women’s basketball, and just two years after Title IX, a piece of legislation which would come to promote gender equality in college sports, was enacted by Congress.

Since her first win with the Lady Vols on January 10, 1975, Summitt has become the all-time winningest NCAA basketball coach (in both men’s and women’s basketball) and has led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA national championships, which is only two short of John Wooden’s record of ten NCAA national championships.

Summitt has not only graced millions of basketball fans’ televisions in her signature UT Orange suits and with her perfectly coiffed hair, but has also ensured that each woman who completes her basketball program graduates from college.  She has instilled her “Definite Dozen” teaching method, which promotes ideals like hard work, respect and responsibility, in the minds of the hundreds of young women who have played for her, and likely even in the mind of her son, Tyler, who grew up alongside Tennessee basketball and now plays for the men’s team.

Pat Summitt and her son, Tyler. Photo courtesy of the University of Tennessee.

For nearly four decades, Summitt has literally scaled summits, proving that women can be successful in any profession they choose, while also being involved parents.  She has served as an inspiration, not only to the women who passed through her program, but for the millions of young women who watched her become the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history.

On August 22, 2011, although at the helm of a heart wrenching announcement, Summitt once again sealed her place as a trailblazer for change in the world of college basketball.  On that day, Summitt bravely and boldly announced to the world, that at age 59, she was diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.  Rather than shirk away in the face of the diagnosis and keep it secret from the world and her competitors, she graciously shared her personal news with all who were listening.

Summitt’s act of sharing her diagnosis was gracious in the sense that once again, Summitt’s actions will serve as a lesson to the world.  Summitt’s fight against Alzheimer’s is a battle of courage, where the course of the battlefield is paved with opportunities to educate others, encourage future research of the disease and recognize that life goes on, even in the face of adversity.

Months after receiving her diagnosis, Summitt committed herself to the battle against Alzheimer’s by forming The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.  The foundation exists to make grants to nonprofits which provide education, support and research of Alzheimer’s.

In seeking an administrator for the foundation’s funds, Summitt and her son, Tyler, sought the assistance of a family friend with years of operations experience, Danielle Donehew.  Donehew previously worked alongside Summitt as a coach for the Lady Vols and later as the Executive Vice President of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.  Presently, Donehew is the Associate Commissioner for Women’s Basketball for the Big East Conference.

“I was very honored when Pat and Tyler asked me to help with the foundation.  It was easy for me to accept; I was humbled and honored that they would ask for my help,” said Donehew.

A check for $75,000.00 is presented by The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund to Alzheimer's Tennessee at the Baylor versus Tennessee game on November 27, 2011. From left to right: Danielle Donehew, Alzheimer's Tennessee representatives and Pat Summitt. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

In forming the foundation, Donehew has witnessed Summitt practice what she’s preached to players for nearly four decades:

“One of the things that she always teaches her players, is the importance of having a positive attitude.  You can’t control what necessarily happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.  What keeps going through my head is one of Pat’s Definite Dozen points, which are the twelve principles of her program.  One of those principles is, ‘Make Winning an Attitude.’  She always says, ‘winning is a choice and you need to maintain a positive attitude.’  I think for her, the beautiful thing about what she’s doing now is, instead of feeling sorry for herself, she’s taking action.  She’s said there’s not going to be any pity party.  She wants to help.  Pat’s never been passive; she’s always taken action.  This is a great example of that; she’s certainly not sitting idly by.  She wants to show others that if you receive a diagnosis like this, it doesn’t mean that you should stop living.  You need to continue doing your best,” Donehew remarked.

Donehew has witnessed great support of The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund from the NCAA basketball community.  In fact, the foundation’s first donation came from one of Summitt’s coaching peers when Donehew was seeking the approval of her Big East cohorts to work with The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.

“I traveled over to UConn and met with Geno Auriemma [the head coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team].  I talked with him about the vision of this foundation and Pat’s fight and commitment to fighting Alzheimer’s and hopefully using this foundation to do so.  Before I could get the entire story out of my mouth, Geno was rustling through his briefcase, and opened up his checkbook.  Immediately there, he wrote a check to the foundation.  He said, ‘This should show you that you have my blessing and I support this effort.’  I thought this was a beautiful thing for him to do immediately–he didn’t hesitate.  He was our first contributor of all the coaches in the game,” noted Donehew.

Auriemma’s action in donating to the foundation gave Donehew what she and Summitt sought in creating the foundation:  hope.

“It just gave me hope that this is really going to be an endeavor that the game of women’s basketball, the game of men’s basketball, the sports community, the nation as a whole and the folks who continue to battle Alzheimer’s disease—that hopefully when Pat was going to join this fight, she’d be well received,” said Donehew.

In the coming months, NCAA men’s and women’ basketball teams across the country will lend support to the foundation in various ways.  Presently, the best way for people to support the foundation is to visit the foundation’s website and make a donation.  However, Donehew is quick to note that a monetary donation is not the only way in which individuals can support Summitt’s cause:

“The most important thing, besides donating, is certainly awareness.  It is really important that as a society, that we are aware that there is a large number of folks in our population that are aging, and therefore, there’s a risk for more Americans to be diagnosed with this disease,” noted Donehew.

For the last 38 years, Summitt has coached teams to beat their toughest opponents.

Today, she is leading Americans in the battle to beat the opponent of 5.4 million Americans:  Alzheimer’s.

College Coach’s Salaries: Pac-12

Which Pac-12 school’s coaches are the most highly paid?

Over the next week, will break down the average salaries of coaches at schools in BCS AQ conferences.  The results of which school’s coaches make the most money may surprise you!

The data used for this analysis was obtained from reports filed by each school with the U.S. Department of Education, as required by Title IX.  These reports are the only public location providing numbers for every school, because private schools are not subject to public records requests, but do have to file their data with the U.S. Department of Education.  The data reported is from the reporting year of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.

Arizona Men’s:  $667,189.00 Men’s:  $153,711.00
Women’s:  $132,772.00 Women’s:  $60,250.00
Arizona State Men’s: $542,954.00 Men’s:  $126,313.00
Women’s:  $214,546.00 Women’s:  $61,624.00
California Men’s:  $380,134.00 Men’s:  $102,315.00
Women’s:  $160,273.00 Women’s:  $51,080.00
Colorado Men’s:  $356,768.00 Men’s:  $159,031.00
Women’s:  $119,451.00 Women’s:  $42,773.00
Oregon Men’s:  $940,559.00 Men’s:  $210,526.00
Women’s:  $181,446.00 Women’s:  $64,352.00
Oregon State Men’s:  $434,043.00 Men’s:  $129,816.00
Women’s:  $110,568.00 Women’s:  $49,812.00
Stanford Men’s:  $305,896.00 Men’s:  $145,205.00
Women’s:  $172,641.00 Women’s:  $73,221.00
UCLA Men’s:  $530,985.00 Men’s:  $108,871.00
Women’s:  $134,447.00 Women’s:  $55,088.00
USC Men’s:  $461,579.00 Men’s:  $168,731.00
Women’s:  $137,091.00 Women’s:  $42,450.00
Utah Men’s:  $382,758.00 Men’s:  $128,063.00
Women’s:  $84,832.00 Women’s:  $59,789.00
Washington Men’s:  $682,013.00 Men’s:  $176,907.00
Women’s:  $211,104.00 Women’s:  $70,635.00
Washington State Men’s:  $379,403.00 Men’s:  $105,665.00
Women’s:  $116,856.00 Women’s:  $51,104.00

The University of Oregon boasts both the highest average men’s head coach salary and the highest average men’s assistant coach salary.  The universities are not required to itemize their coaching salaries, but rather just report the average annual institutional salary per coach.  Arguably, Oregon’s high average head coach salary, which is $643,663.00 higher than the lowest average head coach salary in the Pac-12, is the result of Chip Kelly’s large salary.  Although Kelly’s 2010 contract extension made him the second-highest Pac-12 head coach (behind USC’s Lane Kiffin), it contained incentive bonuses.  Given that Oregon made it to the National Championship Game, it’s likely that these incentive bonuses boosted Oregon’s average head coach salary.

The highest average women’s head coaching salary is paid by Arizona State University, while the highest average women’s assistant coaching salary is paid by Stanford.

Interestingly, while Stanford pays its women’s sports assistant coaches higher on average than any other Pac-12 institution, its men’s sports head coaches are paid the lowest on average in the Pac-12.

Assistant coaches for men’s sports are paid the least on average at Cal, while assistant coaches for women’s sports are paid the least on average at USC.

That the highest average men’s head and assistant coach salaries are paid by a public institution, while the highest average women’s head and assistant coach salaries are paid by private and public institutions, respectively, demonstrates that there arguably isn’t a disparity in private schools being able to provide their coaches with higher salaries.

Another interesting fact to take away from the data, is the disparity in salary between coaches of men’s and women’s sports.  On average, head coaches of men’s sports in the Pac-12 earned 3.2 times as much income as head coaches of women’s sports.  On average, assistant coaches of men’s sports in the Pac-12 earned 2.5 times as much income as assistant coaches of women’s sports.  Head coaches of men’s sports earned 3.3 times as much as men’s sports assistant coaches, while head coaches of women’s sports earned 2.6 times as much as women’s sports assistant coaches.

Check back tomorrow when breaks down the average salaries of SEC coaches.

College Coaching “Salaries” Not As High As You Think

When I posted Ohio State’s football budget a few weeks ago, someone asked how total coaching salaries could be listed at $3.7 million when Jim Tressel was reportedly making approximately that much by himself at the time.

It’s because coaching “salaries” aren’t that high. Technically, only $652,000 of his compensation package is salary. The rest comes from shoe and apparel contracts, endorsements and other outside sources.

For example, Roy Williams at North Carolina makes approximately $1.6 million per year, according to the book Varsity Green. Only $260,000 of that is salary paid by the athletic department. The rest comes from a $3.9 million bonus being paid over five years by the Ram Club, a UNC booster club. He gets another $350,000 from broadcast revenue and $500,000 from Nike.

At the same time, the UNC football coach John Bunting was making $650,000 per year, with the athletic department paying just $260,000 in salary, and up to $300,000 with bonuses. The rest comes from radio, telelvision and Nike.  

This isn’t just happening at UNC, it’s the trend seen across college sports. Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tubberville received approximately $1.5 million per year from a multimedia rights deal Auburn had with ISP Sports for appearances on tv and radio and other personal appearances.

In most instances a college coach’s compensation package is only about 25% salary. The rest is funded from broadcasting and apparel deals and other outside sources.

Coaches also receive bonuses for various accomplishment and benchmarks from getting their team to the conference championship game to attaining certain graduation rates. These bonuses range from tens of thousands to over a hundred thousand. However, many are offset by the increased revenue the athletic department receives as a result of a team having a successful season or appearing in the postseason.

Check out my previous pieces on coaching salaries:

Are College Coaches Overpaid?

The Malzahn Effect

The Bob Huggins Factor

How Do College Football Coaches Rank Financially?

Texas Coach Mack Brown via WikiMedia Commons (user: Corpx)

There’s plenty of commentary out there about which coaches make the most money, but which bring in the most for their program? Yesterday, I told you about the money I think Bob Huggins brought into Kansas State. Today we’re going to look at which college football coaches have seen the highest revenues during their tenure.

I’ve told you previously about Coaches By The Numbers. My friends over there (who have the most amazing statistical data you’ve ever seen regarding coaches) have ranked coaches for the time period of 2003-2009 by average football revenue during the years they coached at the school. Here are the top ten:

  Coach Team Years  Avg. Football Revenue 
1 Mack Brown Texas 7  $    68,559,884.00
2 Gene Chizik Auburn 1  $    66,162,720.00
3 Nick Saban Alabama 3  $    64,620,511.00
4 Urban Meyer Florida 5  $    61,618,057.00
5 Charlie Weis Notre Dame 5  $    61,618,057.00
6 Jim Tressel Ohio State 7  $    59,296,706.00
7 Mark Richt Georgia 7  $    59,184,075.00
8 Rich Rodriguez Michigan 2  $    57,717,721.00
9 Lane Kiffin Tennessee 1  $    56,593,946.00
10 Les Miles LSU 5  $    54,209,424.00

Now obviously there are a number of other factors that come into play in terms of football revenue from the size of the stadium to how many home games the team has that season. So, the most interesting thing about this data set is to look at coaches who spent time at the same school:

Alabama: Nick Saban $64,620,511 vs. Mike Shula $45,109,406

Auburn: Gene Chizik $66,162,720 vs. Tommy Tuberville $50,742,163

South Carolina: Steve Spurrier $48,028,921 vs. Lou Holtz $16,758,542

Notre Dame: Charlie Weis $61,201,194 vs. Tyrone Willingham $40,175,454

Tennessee: Lane Kiffin $56,593,946 vs. Phillip Fulmer $36,337,856

Florida: Urban Meyer $61,618,057 vs. Ron Zook $43,014,304

Michigan State: Mark Dantonio $43,931,899 vs. John Smith $31,381,946

Nebraska: Bo Pelini $52,577,417 vs. Frank Solich $30,231,643

There are also situations where a change in coaching doesn’t seem to effect finances at all:

Washington: Tyrone Willingham $34,187,897 vs. Steve Sarkisian $33,919,639

Nebraska: Frank Solich $30,231,643 vs. Bill Callahan $29,604,585

Again, there are a number of other factors at play, but it’s interesting to try and measure how a coach can change the financial picture for a program. Do you think these numbers prove anything or are they just a product of natural increases in revenue for each program?

*Numbers are from data submitted by each school to the U.S. Department of Education.

The Bob Huggins Factor

I read every book I can get my hands on about the business of college sports. After all, I want to bring you all the best coverage, and sometimes that means taking a look at the work of other writers.

I recently finished Varsity Green: A Behind the Scenes Look at Culture and Corruption in College Athletics by Mark Yost. It was extremely accessible to the average college football fan and covers a variety of topics from the emphasis of the athlete part of student-athlete to coaching salaries, stadium costs and NCAA regulation. Although I was far from agreeing with everything in the book, I thought it was a great read. 

I wanted to share with you all my favorite part of the book. Not word for word, of course, but a story from the book that some of you may already know. It’s the part of the book I’ve talked about the most with other people and it comes right at the beginning in the Introduction.

The Introduction is called The Huggins Factor. It discusses what Bob Huggins did for Kansas State in one year as men’s basketball coach. It also illustrates a bigger topic I’m covering in my book on the business of college football, and that’s what an athletic department can do for a university overall.

The Huggins Factor is simple: a well-known coach (although for many of the wrong reasons) can create buzz for a program and with success on the court can lift up not just an athletic department but an entire university. The author notes that Bob Huggins was an odd hire for Kansas State, who had previously been known more for their academic success in the athletic department than men’s basketball program. Huggins brought with him a lot of baggage, including a 0% graduation rate for his players over the previous few seasons, a DWI conviction of his own and a reputation for being a little less than media-friendly. So why did Kansas State hire Bob Huggins to come to their academically-touted university? Money, Yost says.

Bob Huggins only stayed at Kansas State for one year. However, in his one year, he saw season ticket sales increase from 5,800 to 11,000, a sellout when you factor in the student ticket allotment. In fact, Kansas State sold out again the next year, despite Huggins’ departure. Revenue from season ticket sales more than doubled from $1.2 million to $2.7 million. Alumni donations increased by $3 million.

In addition to direct revenue from basketball, Huggins year with Kansas State impacted the entire athletic department. The men’s basketball team made their first national television appearance in decades during Bob Huggins year with them. They would go on the next year to see over half their regular season games featured on ESPN.  This is important in the Big 12, because conference distributions are based on television appearances (for non-conference games). 

In what must also be considered a result of the national exposure, Kansas State sold 30% more school apparel than in previous years. The school moved into the top 35 in sales for The Collegiate Licensing Company, moving from merely regional interest to national prominence. In addition, Huggins helped the athletic department secure a $10 million shoe and apparel deal for all varsity sports. Apparently Kansas State had been seeking a deal like this from Nike for years, but it was Bob Huggins who sealed the deal.

In the book, Kansas State Athletic Director Bob Cavello is quoted as saying: “Bob Huggins gave us a national presence, both as a basketball team and as a university.” I’d be willing to be Kansas State saw an increase in applications to the university following Bob Huggins one-year stay.

When Huggins arrived in 2006, Kansas State hadn’t been in the NCAA Tournament in ten years. Since his stay, they have been in the tournament three times. Obviously this isn’t all because of him, current coach Frank Martin deserves some credit, but it seems obvious to me that Bob Huggins started something important at Kansas State. Something they’ve been smart enough and fortunate enough to sustain ever since.

Remember when I discussed whether coaches are overpaid and the Gus Malzahn Effect? Consider this: Kansas State paid Bob Huggins just over $1 million dollars for his one year at Kansas State. How much did he bring them? I’d say somewhere around $20 million, conservatively. You’ve got $14.5 million between the increase in ticket sales and alumni donations, another $10 million for the Nike deal and then the increase in conference distribution and royalties.  Maybe the Bob Huggins Factor will convince you that some of these coaches are worth their weight in gold for athletic departments and for universities.

Are College Coaches Overpaid?

Auburn Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn - by Flikr user

Although presented as a yes or no question, I don’t think there’s an actual yes or no answer to whether college coaches are overpaid. I think they have to be paid what the market requires.

I often see commentary about how coaches are overpaid. Aside from the BCS, it’s probably the number one fall-guy for everything that is perceived as being wrong with college athletics. Because coaches are overpaid, athletic departments need subsidies like student fees and taxpayer dollars and can’t afford to pay student-athletes. At least that’s what the dissenters claim.

So what’s the solution? Say you’re the AD at Auburn. Instead of giving Chizik and Malzahn and the rest raises after they lead the Tigers to a National Championship last year, would you announce that there will no longer be raises at Auburn for coaches? Would you say that all future contracts will be for lower salaries as your athletic department attempts to rewind the trend of ever-escalating coaching salaries?

We all know what would happen. Chizik and Malzahn would both depart for other jobs, with Malzahn likely able to get a head coaching job elsewhere. In fact, the entire staff would probably leave. Then you could go out and hire whoever was willing to coach the Tigers for $200,000 or whatever you think is a reasonable amount for a head football coach.

And what would become of the Tigers? What are the odds they would compete for another National Championship? Odds are the football program would begin to decline. Sure, there’s always a diamond in the rough out there you might snag who is a brilliant football coach no one has discovered and is willing to work for your pittance of a salary. Even if you were lucky enough to discover this man, he would surely leave you for a larger paycheck as soon as someone else comes calling.

And what happens when your football program declines? I’ve shown you before what happens when football isn’t enough to support the other sports in an athletic department. The athletic department either makes cuts or has to rely more heavily on institutional support like student fees and taxpayer dollars.

Yes, it’s a vicious circle. That’s why we can’t all be athletic directors. Being a successful athletic director requires the ability to know exactly how much money you can invest in football to get the greatest return possible without overspending. It’s making football profitable enough to support your other sports without having to dip into the pockets of students or taxpayers. Does every AD accomplish this? Of course not, just like every CEO doesn’t make their company the most profitable or the industry leader.

Back to the original question: are college coaches overpaid? Yes, I believe some are paid above their market value. Just like any other industry, some businesses (i.e., athletic departments) within the industry hire the wrong people or overpay their top management. What I want to know from you, however, is whether this is a problem that requires a solution. If it is, what is the solution?