Pay Florida football coaches more

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke tackles high school football coaching salaries.

Florida — and Miami — seriously need to change the way high school football coaches are treated. I am an assistant coach for the Miami Central High School Rockets, so I know the amount of time and effort my colleagues put into preparing teenage boys for adulthood. Football is bigger here than in 47 of the 50 states.

These coaches are not being fairly compensated. Consider Texas, which is number two after California. In 2006, the Austin American-Statesman revealed that head coaches in classes 5A and 4A — schools with 950 or more students — made an average of $73,804 annually while teachers averaged about $42,400. The article cited then-Texas education commissioner Shirley Neeley: "Those football coaches put in more hours than people realize."

A year later, the Fort Myers News-Press reported that Florida high school coaches were leaving the state for jobs with better pay. Florida high school football coaching stipends were not enough for coaches to supplement their base salaries, so they were taking on other duties to earn decent pay.

For example, ex-Edison football head coach Cory Bell had a base salary of $49,325 plus a football stipend of $4,700. He took on additional duties at the school so he could earn another $12,332. He left in 2007 to become the University of Miami's director of football operations. Seven Miami-Dade high school football coaches earned between $50,000 and $80,000 per year — but that included supplemental income. Miami Palmetto's James Kroll made $76,000, which included $8,786 in non-football-related supplements.

This is no part-time job. These guys are father figures who sometimes buy kids lunch and dinner.

Miami-Dade high school coaches have established a pretty damn good record of sending players to the National Football League. A 2008 USA Today report showed that California, Texas, and Florida accounted for 1,808 of the 5,395 players drafted from 1988 through 2007, or 34 percent.

So it is no surprise that the University of Miami, Florida State, and the University of Florida were among the top ten schools to deliver players to the NFL two years ago. Miami ranked first with 46 players, Florida State came in third with 41ex-Noles-turned-pros, and UF took the eighth spot with 31 former Gators in the NFL.

With that rate of success, high school football coaches deserve better pay.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

 
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