The student news website of Omaha Central High School

Coaches salary determined by hours, experience, bias

October 2, 2018

Central has included sports in its “tradition of excellence” ever since its creation in 1859. In order to carry out these high school sports, dedicated staff members who are willing to spend their time on student athletes must be compensated for their work. Coaches range from math or English teachers to retirees who make their way back to Central purely to help coach a sport.
Like any other job at OPS, coaches are paid in accordance to what the district is willing to provide. For many sports, this is an unequal range of payments. The Omaha Education Association (OEA) as well as a negotiating group, work together to determine the salaries of each sport’s head and assistant coach.
According to Luke Dillon, the athletic director at Central, representation is a major part of these determinations. If one sport has more representatives in the OEA to vouge for the hours each coach puts in, that sport is more likely to get paid an equal salary. “most of its based on the input from members of the OEA, then they base it off of the number of coaches hours, length of the seasons, things of that nature” Dillon said.
As could be assumed by the popularity of the sports, football and basketball have the highest head coach salaries per season with $7000. Volleyball follows with a salary at around $6,100. The lowest paid sports are cross-country and golf, who receive $3,050 per season to their head coaches.
Their salary is set at the beginning of the season and each coach gets paid in increments, similar to their teaching pay. For this reason, specific games and meets do not grant coaches individual paychecks. “every coach gets a stipend every x amount of years, so if they’ve been doing it for a while they get an increment every 5 and 10 years” Dillon said.
Head Coach of girl’s cross-country Trent Lodge agreed with the reasoning behind the increased pay for football coaches. “Football is more time consuming” Lodge said, “they do weights pretty often and they put in more hours over the summer”.
Many sports condition for the fall season during the summer. The pay difference comes from a variety of reasons that differentiate the sports. From a monetary standpoint, there appears to be a bias in the opinions of the OEA. More viewership and popularity allows for a higher salary for certain sports. Those who stick to the routine of practice with fewer hours and shorter seasons are less likely to earn a larger paycheck.
Unless a representative from the sport in question presents themselves at a negotiated meeting, the other members are likely to continue their higher paying attitudes towards the higher benefitting sports. “sports like basketball and football are the ones that create revenue for athletic departments” Lodge said, “you pay to watch them and that’s where they get the most crowds”.
Overall, the coaches are aware of the pay difference between sports yet allow for their salaries to continue due to their passion for coaching the sport. “The pay becomes less important….” Lodge said. There may be a bias to the determination of wages for coaches, but there is an equality in the heart and pride accumulated by each coach, regardless of sport.

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