There has been a lot of reporting in recent months about the spiraling earnings of Division I football and men’s basketball coaches, many of whom now earn more than $1 million per year. Often lost in the discussion is the fact that the head coaches of women’s Division I basketball programs are also seeing huge increases in their earnings.
USA Today recently ran two stories on this subject, timed to coincide with the women’s Final 4 Division I basketball championship, which was claimed by Texas A & M last on April 5. The Aggies’ coach, Gary Blair, earned some $800,000 this past season. According to figures published by USA Today, this amount placed Blair about seventh on the list of highest earning coaches of women’s teams.
These figures may be even more surprising than those earned by the coaches of men’s teams because almost no women’s basketball programs earn a profit. LSU just hired former UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell to come to Baton Rouge after bumping Van Chancellor into an assistant athletic director role. Caldwell will earn a reported $750,000 in her first season at LSU, even though the program reported a net loss of $2.2 million in the 2009-2010 season. The LSU athletic director was reported as saying that in the present market the type of salary being paid is necessary to get a top coach capable of competing for a national championship.
Even a coach such as Wendell Hudson at the University of Alabama earns some $250,000 per year. The UA women’s squad has not made any noise on the national scene in some 15 years and averaged around 2200 fans per game this past season. Yet the market seems to drive salaries even when money is not being made in a given sport.
To read the complete stories from USA Today click on the following links: