Put the money where the wins are
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 00:01
It seems patently obvious to some of us who are not involved in paying for the athletic teams that USM fields each year, but who nonetheless is interested in the athletic program, that two recent coaching hires offer very distinctive images of USM sports. The first hire was that of the football coach last year, who we ended paying well over $2 million, which resulted in the worst football record in school history.
The second hire, made for this year, is the head basketball coach, Donnie Tyndall, who has taken up where his predecessor left off, as a dominating team in C-USA. If Tyndall manages to get USM to the Big Dance in March, we can expect that he will be offered a contract at a major university (SEC?) after only one year here.
I understand that we are paying Tyndall in the range of $250K while the current football coach has a salary over three-quarters of a million. Yet we have proven winner in Tyndall. If the university really wants to compete at the next level it will have to put the money up to not only get the good coaches, but also to keep them. If we continue to train up good coaches who then leave for the better schools, we will always be a second rate athletic program.
It is worth remembering that while the football program has had winning seasons and gone to some bowl games, in basketball, softball, track and baseball we have had some stellar national success in the past decade. Some have argued, myself among them, that with money that USM spends on the football team we could regularly field top notch basketball and baseball teams (not to mention track and softball teams). Others have and will argue that football revenues carry the rest of the athletic program.
In reality it is student tuition that carries the entire athletic program. Give us something to cheer for.