Changing lives is great pay…for a coach



It’s true that Jody Sears, the Weber State football coach I wrote about in today’s Deseret News, didn’t have a lot of options.

He wanted a head coaching job and Weber agreed. But the university insisted on a contract clause that said he can be fired without a buyout if he doesn’t meet certain win totals: four games this year or six games in 2014.

Jody Sears
Deseret News Photo by Scott Winterton

Lots of contracts have incentive clauses for wins. Not so many say the coach can be fired without a buyout if he doesn’t win a specific number of games.  Sears’ does.

But that doesn’t mean he resents the monster guarantees other coaches have, or what they earn.

When I asked him if the salary buildup could continue he said he didn’t know but “at the same time, there’s so much money; just look at the Pac-12, there’s so much TV money that was brought to the table to pay the salaries.”

He went on to say that was fine with him (even though he makes $130,000 annually – pennies compared to, say, Kyle Whittingham who makes $2 million at Utah).

“You know what?” Sears continued, “in our business, if coaches are getting that money, so be it. When it comes to service and professionalism, it’s a career in high demand. Yes, they win games for the university and the community, but at the same time they’re changing lives. Young men come from different communities and become men of integrity, good businessmen, doctors…the list goes on. To me, that’s priceless.”

He went on to say that coaches build students-athletes “so that when they leave the program they’ll be successful in life. I don’t know that you can put a price tag on that.”

I agree that a lot of athletes benefit from the experience, in a lot of ways, but professors of social work, economics or history could claim they do the same thing. They build great people, too.

It’s just that they don’t sell any tickets.

Sorry for the reality, but the bottom line is that football teams bring in millions, sometimes hundreds of millions. Economics and history departments don’t. So while regular professors are changing lives, so are coaches.

At a much higher pay scale.

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