2011-06-23 / Sports

Coaches’ Pay Can Be Worlds Apart

PITTSBURGH (AP) – University coaches’ salaries in one Pennsylvania conference vary widely, with seniority and success cited as big factors, a newspaper said.

The Pittsburgh Tribune- Review said Sunday that its analysis turned up big disparities in the pay of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference coaches in the same sport. The paper said it chose the PSAC for review because 14 of its 17 members are state- supported and salaries are public record.

For example, Indiana University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball coach Joe Lombardi will make nearly $65,000 more next season than his counterpart at Mansfield, Rich Miller. And John Luckhardt, head football coach at California University of Pennsylvania, will make nearly $57,000 more than Clarion University coach Jay Foster. In addition, the paper said, Lock Haven women’s lacrosse coach Kristin Selvage is making $75,185 a year, but firstyear East Stroudsburg coach Jane Koeniges makes $38,344.

Conference officials and coaches told the paper that pay disparities among coaches are mostly, but not solely, due to seniority and winning.

Luckhardt, hired to raise both the football profile and private funding for scholarships, came to California University in 2002 after leading Division III Washington & Jefferson to a 137-37-2 record in 17 years. Over the past six seasons, his teams have been 62-14 (36-3 in conference play), finishing at least tied for first in the PSAC West each year. The Vulcans won the resurrected league championship game in 2008.

Foster said he wasn’t necessarily happy about the salary difference with Luckhardt but agreed that California University has made a commitment toward a strong sports program. Not only are coaches paid more, but the school offers more scholarships, which are privately funded.

“Some places put a big emphasis on certain things, and other places don’t,’’ Foster said. “Success breeds success.’’

California University’s softball coach, Rick Bertagnolli, has built a nationally known program over 18 season. The teams of the 10- time PSAC West coach of the year have reached the NCAA tournament 15 times. But although he is paid $111,576, almost $70,000 more than West Chester softball coach Diane Lokey, that did not keep Lokey’s team from upsetting Cal U in the PSAC tournament in April.

Lock Haven head field hockey coach Pat Rudy is paid $104,041, or almost $64,000 more than Slippery Rock’s Julie Zoolkoski, the lowest-paid field hockey coach in the PSAC among publicly available salaries.

Rudy also, according to available records, the only woman among the 14 PSAC coaches to make more than $100,000 a year, and the paper attributed her higher salary to seniority and success. Rudy has coached at the school for 15 years, and her team competes at the Division I level in the Atlantic 10 Conference, as opposed to the Division II PSAC. Her Lock Haven teams have posted a 265-67 record, and won eight Division II national championships before moving up in class.

IUP’s Lombardi is the conference’s highest-paid men’s basketball coach at $122,170. Before he left Lock Haven, men’s head basketball coach John Wilson was the lowest-paid men’s hoops coach in the conference at $54,148, the paper said, citing available records. California University’s Bertagnolli, men’s basketball coach Bill Brown ($121,730) and women’s basketball coach Mark Swasey ($101,363) are all among the conference’s top-paid coaches, records show.

“I think there’s an expectation of success (at Cal U),’’ Murray said. “They’re paying their coaches for that success.’’

The paper said conference salary disparities are mirrored by scholarship differences, especially in football. The California University football program had 35.63 full scholarships last season, just shy of the maximum 36 the PSAC permits. Although coaches’ salaries are mainly funded by state money, scholarships in the conference are privately funded.

Clarion’s football team, hampered by injuries and a lack of depth, slumped from 9-3 in 2009 to 4-7 last season.

“Money doesn’t buy you championships, but it buys you consistency,’’ said Foster, who is entering his sixth season as head coach. “We proved two years ago we can compete. The question is, can you compete on a consistent basis?’’

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