College athletic coaches continue to dominate the upper ranks of Maryland's public salary structure, with University of Maryland men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon, football coach Randy Edsall and women's basketball coach Brenda Frese ranking as the state's three highest-paid employees.
The Baltimore Sun updated its salary database with 2013 data on Wednesday.
Beyond those big three, football and basketball coaches rank among the highest-paid employees at other state universities such as Towson, Morgan State and Coppin State. Our state is no exception in this respect. College coaches are the best-compensated public employees in dozens of states around the country.
Depending on your point of view, the figures suggest Maryland is doing what it must to keep up or that the entire system has run amok.
Edsall’s 2013 compensation, slightly more than $2 million, ranked just 48th among Bowl Championship Series coaches, according to a database compiled by USA Today. His salary would have ranked ninth among coaches in the Big Ten, the football-mad conference the Terps are about to join.
The Maryland coach is practically a pauper compared to Alabama coach Nick Saban ($5.5 million), Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops ($4.8 million), Ohio State coach Urban Meyer ($4.6 million) and other stars of the fraternity.
Turgeon, the highest-paid employee in the state at about $2.2 million, ranked among the better-paid coaches in the ACC. But his compensation is also dwarfed by those given to heavyweights such as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski ($9.7 million), Louisville coach Rick Pitino ($5.8 million) and Kentucky coach John Calipari ($5.5 million).
Cynical Maryland fans might point out the richest coaches have won a lot more games than Turgeon or Edsall.
Frese, coming off her second Final Four trip, actually ranks closer to the top of her sport’s salary scale with 2013 compensation of $989,609. She’s behind only a few peers such as Connecticut coach Gino Auriemma, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey and Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale.
It’s interesting to see where coaches from non-revenue sports rank in the College Park firmament. Men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski ranks closest to the big three with 2013 compensation of $398,636. That’s not surprising, given he’s been at the university 21 years and has built the Terps into a perennial power.
But Missy Meharg, another veteran coach who has won even more consistently with the field hockey program, made a comparatively modest $159,395. That put her in the same general neighborhood as wrestling coach Kerry McCoy ($139,056) and baseball coach John Szefc ($128,872).
In lacrosse, where Maryland is a traditional power, men’s coach John Tillman made $248,194 and women’s coach Cathy Reese, who just led her team to a national championship, made $177,503.
Among the state’s other public universities, Towson is the biggest spender, with men’s basketball coach Pat Skerry ($378,433) and football coach Rob Ambrose ($306,152) ranking as the university's two highest-paid employees in 2013. Towson’s commitment to increased coaching salaries — part of a deliberate push to raise the university’s athletic profile — paid off with a trip to the Football Championship Subdivision title game and a 25-win season in men’s basketball. Ambrose signed a contract extension in January — terms undisclosed — that could keep him at his alma mater through 2020.
At Morgan State, men’s basketball coach Todd Bozeman ($192,801) and since-departed football coach Donald Hill-Eley ($210,956) both ranked among the university’s 10 highest-paid employees.
At Coppin State, former men’s basketball coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell ranked third on the compensation list at $187,981, behind only former university President Reginald Avery and Avery’s interim replacement.
Coaching salaries decline, relative to those of other officials, at universities where sports are less emphasized. For example, Salisbury men’s lacrosse coach Jim Berkman is a Hall of Famer with more than 400 wins on his resume. But he made a modest $108,780, barely among the top 50 at the Division III school.
If you'd like to look up a certain state employee's 2013 salary, check out the database.