The following is the first entry on my new computer. A combination of my age and my lack of interest in anything technological severely hinder what I can do on a computer. I’m from a generation which values verbal and written communication more than something from a computer. Since my skills are speaking and writing, I have a tough time doing anything but. Until technology floats my boat like speaking and writing do, blogging will have to be what bridges the generation gap for me.
What I find odd, especially in this economy, are the salaries paid to employees that are based on “market value.” As an example, let’s look at college basketball coaches. John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino and other highly successful coaches are paid quite handsomely (that’s one way to put it). All have something in common - success at the highest levels. In addition, it’s been proven that each of those coaches accounts for more than what he’s paid. Because these guys are raking in big money for their respective universities, directors of athletics, presidents and their boards feel compelled to “put together as attractive a package” as they can to bring to their university a coach who will achieve the kind of success the highest paid coaches do. To me, it seems as though these “leaders” are putting the cart before the horse.
An AD I once knew who had a head basketball coaching position open confided in me that he intended to pay the new coach around $400,000. That was double what the previous coach (who had retired) had made. “What?!?” was my incredulous reply. “Why?” He told me coaching salaries were “market driven.”
“Look, the guys you’re talking to are assistants who, at the most, are making $125,000″ (the list had already been pared to four). “Offer them $175,000.” I tried to reason, “That’s a $50,000 raise, the opportunity to be a head coach, what nearly every assistant wants, and your job is one of the best in the conference. Ask people on the street what they’d do for a $50,000 raise.”
“Oh, if we offered that, we’d never get any of these guys,” was his retort.
“So what? Not one of them has ever called a time out yet!” It was around that time I realized why athletics administration had never appealed to me. It was time to drop a bombshell on him. “If you did your homework, really got out there and thoroughly investigated - by leaning on friends and associates you trust, not taking the easy way out by paying some head hunting firm $50-60,000 - and told them you were offering $175,000, I’d be willing to guarantee you that you’d wind up with just as good a coach as you would for $400,000.
“As far as spending the money you want, you load his contract with incentives - winning, naturally, but also for paid attendance, graduation rates, conference championships and whatever else is important to the university. That is what’s fair. Pay for performance, not market value. He won’t work any less hard; in fact, he’ll probably work harder because he needs to prove himself. If you think a bigger school is going to come along and snatch him up when he wins, chances are that if the school is big enough, you won’t be able to come close to their price anyway.”
Never did I think my advice would be taken seriously (it wasn’t) but, for the life of me - maybe because of my math background - I can’t understand why college leaders are blind to an obvious statistic. At the end of the season, when conference records are posted, there will be exactly as many wins as losses. In other words, some coach’s team will finish last, another next-to-last, etc. Yet, all of them are being paid at market rate. Why? Who the hell set up such an absurd salary structure?
Pay for performance. That’s how the country began. If you were good, you made it; if you weren’t, you didn’t. Now, once your coach produces, then pay him. Of course, at the time of your search, if there’s someone out there you really want, e.g. like Louisville did with Pitino, hey, do what needs to be done. By the way, Rick had previously called times out and he had done well with that aspect of the game, as well as all others. But, for the school that posts a job and waits for applications, more legwork should be done, less salary and more incentives offered.
I recall a marketing director at one of my stops, whenever a marketing idea was proposed, the staff would hear the identical response. “That’s a good idea but it is labor intensive.” If you should ever be on the receiving end of such a reply, remember this:
“Labor intensive is just another term for . . . WORK.”