Governor Shmovernor

The recent high-profile firing of Steve Lavin at UCLA and the resignation of Matt Doherty from UNC has raised an amusing point about public university spending. These men’s basketball coaches are the highest paid state employees in their respective states. They make more than the Governor, Attorney General, Comptroler, etc. I’m surprised their isn’t more taxpayer outcry about this. And also that private universities wouldn’t thus be more dominant by then paying for the best coaches as they do with professors.


Readers Brian Ross ’04 and Jeremy Presser ’04 respond.

Ross: “[I]n response to your comment on about the coaches – the reason state schools still do good is because they can attract the top coaches not with money but with prestige and large recruiting pools. Most major state schools that I can think of (UCLA, UNC, Kansas, Arizona) have been successful programs for quite some time and thus have prestige to attract the best even if the money isn’t there.”

Presser: “[T]here isn’t much public outcry about the coaches because their respective sports (UCLA/UNC basketball) bring in much more money every year than the money they pay the coaches. This allows the athletic departments to sponsor non-revenue sports beyond their original budget. Plus, if they were paying $200,000 for a coach, the talent level would drop to the point where they would lose significant ticket sales, tv revenue and alumni donations. Basketball and football are money sports, despite the high salaries.”