A map posted at Deadspin.com lists the occupation of each state’s top-paid employee. There are university presidents (Montana and Alaska) and professional school deans (New York, Massachusetts and Maine, among others). But in 41 states, college coaches top the pay scale.
In California, Deadspin lists No. 1 as “basketball coach.” Presumably that’s Ben Howland, the recently fired coach at UCLA. According to the Sacramento Bee’s most recent listing of state salaries, which covers 2011, ex-Cal football Coach Jeff Tedford was tops at $2.8 million, followed by Howland at $2.1 million.
Much of the money paid to coaches comes from sports revenue, rather than the general fund. But, as the Deadspin item asked, does anyone think fans show up for the coach?
As a native of Minnesota (the lone state where basketball and football coaches share the top spot), I have to tip my cap to Vermont. The Granite State’s top-paid employee is a coach, but his sport is hockey.
– Jim Sweeney