The Highest Paid State Employee Is Almost Always A Coach
You've heard Iowans lament about the fact that Kirk Ferentz is the highest paid state employee. It usually crops up during a tough season of football in Iowa City. How can we pay one person so much? Well, guess what Iowa, we're not alone. It's the same in 39 other states too.
Now by pointing this fact out, I'm not saying that a coach should be our state's highest-paid employee. But Iowa can take some solace in knowing we're not alone. Let's look at Ferentz first. The Iowa coach brings in $4.6 million per year in salary. Compare that to our governor, Kim Reyolds, who makes $130,000 per year. But this is where the money really gets crazy. The median household income in Iowa is just over $54,000. It would take 84 average Iowa households to equal what Kirk Ferentz makes in one year.
But neighboring states are in the same boat. Illinois pays Lovie Smith $3 million a year. Minnesota gives P.J. Fleck $3.5 million. Wisconsin pays Paul Chryst $3.2 million. Basketball coaches are hauling it in too. John Calipari in Kentucky makes over $7 million a year. That equals 158 average household incomes in the state of Kentucky.
Yes, money in college athletics is out of control. But don't blame Kirk Ferentz. He's just getting what the market determines he gets. It's the cost of doing business in sports. It's great work if you can get it!