While most high-school coaches are also teachers and earn the bulk of their pay in the classroom, they are also compensated for their time on and off the field developing their programs.
It may just be a few extra bucks on each paycheck, but over the course of a school year, some teachers can increase their annual salaries by several thousand dollars.
A teacher making $45,651 — the average salary paid in Jessamine County in the 2011-12 school year — could increase his or her pay 10 percent or more with any of the seven highest-paying head-coaching positions.
Jessamine County football coaches can make up to $8,885 with the combination of the fall season ($6,665) and the spring practice season ($2,220).
“I think districts our size are comparable in our salary structure and our coaching-stipend structure,” Jessamine County athletic director Ken Cox said.
Compared to other school districts the size of Jessamine, coach salaries fall right in line. Jessamine had the 16th-most students in the state in the 2010-11 school year. Pulaski County was ranked 15th, and McCracken County was ranked 17th.
When comparing the three districts of similar size, coach salaries end up balancing out. Pulaski pays out $10,000 to football and basketball head coaches. In Jessamine County, head football coaches make $6,665 and basketball coaches make $7,980. In McCracken, football and basketball head coaches each make $6,619.
In Jefferson County — the largest school district in the state — football and basketball coaches make an average of $5,734. Jefferson uses a step system for coaches salaries. For example, a first-year football coach in the district makes $4,369, and pay is increased for each of the next four years until it reaches the final step of $7,100.
Some counties, such as McCracken, have years of service bonuses. After four years, coaches begin to receive another $200 per year; after seven years, they receive $400. The stepladder goes up to $1,100 after 20 or more years of service.
While Jessamine may be behind Pulaski in football and basketball salaries, it’s No. 1 among the four districts in baseball, softball and soccer. Baseball and softball coaches in the county make $4,825. That’s $217 more than McCracken coaches and $1,300 more than Pulaski coaches.
Soccer coaches in the county bring in $4,620, just above McCracken’s $4,608. And Jessamine bests Pulaski and Jefferson’s best offer by more than $1,100.
This past season with the introduction of bowling as a state-sanctioned sport, Cox was setting a coaching salary for the first time; salaries had not been adjusted since his tenure began in 2010. When developing the new salary, Cox and the school-district athletic directors sat down and began to compare bowling to other sports already on the books. They looked at time commitment, the size of teams, interest, and other factors and came up with a salary of $1,795 — the same amount as the golf salary and $75 less than tennis.
Archery will go through the same process in the coming months.
“We will come up with a figure; that figure will be recommended to Mr. (Owens) Saylor, the deputy superintendent, and then he will decide if he wants to talk to the superintendent about it or whether we want to take it directly to the board for approval,” Cox said.
McCracken and Pulaski counties have not listed a bowling salary on their 2011-12 salary schedules, but Jefferson County bowling coaches made $437 this season with the opportunity to make $710 in their fifth season.
When comparing Jessamine, Pulaski, McCracken and Jefferson counties, the pay in Jessamine is a bit behind the curve in volleyball, golf and tennis, coming in fourth in each sport. The biggest discrepancy is in volleyball. Jessamine coaches make $3,080 while Pulaski’s make $3,500 and McCraken’s make $4,608.
Cox said the district is always discussing coaching salaries and could make adjustments in the future to remain competitive off the field so that teams can stay competitive on the field.
“We have to look at districts that are comparable to us,” he said. “Going into larger districts would not give us a good comparison. Districts similar to us would give us a good comparison to see how we’re doing. By and large, I think we would find that our stipend schedule is comparable.”
Cox said the first priority is teachers’ salaries and making sure that they are increased first and then — if the budget allows — coaching salaries.
In recent years, the district has frozen extra-duty stipends in an effort to put as much money in teachers salaries as it can.
“It’s been probably 10 years since we reviewed all the stipends and did some comparisons, so it’s probably time over the course of the next year to look at that and gauge how competitive we really are,” superintendent Lu Young said. A key point in a future review will be the number of assistant coaches who will receive a stipend, Young said.