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Sports: District raises coaches’ pay to keep playing field level

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Head football coaches will now make as much as athletics directors under salary supplements approved this week by the Georgetown County School Board.

At $7,500, those are the top two athletic supplements. The high school strength coaches are next at $5,000.

While raising pay for all coaches, the new supplement schedule gives the biggest boost, 24 percent, to varsity golf, tennis and cross country coaches and B-team coaches in baseball, softball, volleyball and cheerleading.

“People don’t coach for the money, but it’s always nice when you appreciate them,” said David Hammel, principal at Waccamaw High in Pawleys Island and a former coach and athletics director. Waccamaw is the only high school in the district that fields teams in all sports approved by the S.C. High School League.

Like the pay increases approved for teachers and other district staff this year, the athletic supplements help make the district competitive with its neighbors. “I wouldn’t want to lose any coaches,” Hammel said.

Even with the raise, golf, tennis and cross country coaches remain the lowest paid of the varsity coaches at $1,500. Waccamaw teams reached the Lower State championships in tennis and the state championships in boys golf and cross country.

Coaches get an extra 10 percent of the supplement for each additional week of competition at a higher level. Superintendent Randy Dozier said that post-season bonus is something few other districts do.

The revisions were made after looking at districts of similar size as well as nearby districts that compete with Georgetown County for employees.

He acknowledged that paying more to coaches in “revenue sports” always raises questions. A former coach himself, “I spent just as much time on tennis as I did on football,” Dozier said.

But he also said the district’s coaching supplements “have come a long way,” and they will continue to evolve.

Hammel was pleased with the jump for B-team coaches. They are essential to building strong programs. “At times we have really struggled to find people,” he said.

Junior varsity tennis and assistant track coaches got 20 percent increases. The coaches will earn $1,200. Coaches who also drive team buses will also get a 20 percent rise in their supplement to $600 a semester.

Varsity baseball, softball, basketball and assistant football coaches will be paid $4,000, up 3 percent.

JV and B-team football assistant coaches get $3,500, a 6.9 percent rise. Varsity cheerleading coaches get $2,600, up 7 percent.

Varsity soccer, track, volleyball, lacrosse and wrestling coaches will be paid $2,500. So will the JV and B-team basketball coaches, and the assistant coaches in varsity baseball, softball and basketball.

At $2,000 are the competitive cheerleading coach and the JV baseball, softball and cheerleading coaches.

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