Golden Bear, indeed

January 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

Jeff Tedford, head football coach at the University of California, Berkeley, has recently agreed to a contract extension that will keep him at the helm of the Golden Bear program through 2015. This news gives me the opportunity to follow-up on something I scrawled in the margin of my notebook during a conversation last year with a faculty member at Berkeley related to the intersection of athletics and academics:

Football coach Jeff Tedford is the highest paid California state employee!

I remember being struck a bit, at the time, by this note.

California, which if it were an independent nation, would have the 10th largest economy in world. Of the more than 238,000 employees on the California state payroll, the job that is most valued — using gross salary as the metric for this measurement — is the head coach of a university football program.

More than the governor of California (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, while not accepting any pay for his job, was entitled to a salary of $206,500 in 2007)…

More than Mark Yudof, President of the University of California ($828,000)…

More than Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of U.C. Berkeley ($421,000)…

More than George Smoot, Professor of Physics and Berkeley’s most recent winner of the Nobel Prize ($193,000 in gross pay)…

More than all these figures is the salary of Cal football coach Jeff Tedford. Last year, his gross salary was $2,831,654 (source).

Tedford’s most recent contract, available here, has a couple of lines that are worth noting:

  • Base salary: $225,000
  • Talent fee: $1,575,000 (increases by $50,000 for each subsequent year following a BCS Bowl game appearance)
  • Retention bonuses of $1,000,000-1,500,000 each year beginning in 2009, with another $50,000 BCS Bowl game appearance bonus
  • Signing bonus of $1,000,000

A Golden Bear, indeed. (Worth keeping in mind, the financial support for Tedford’s contract is being provided by Athletic Department self-generated revenue.)

Another few lines of Tedford’s contract further illustrate the tension between promoting academic and athletic successes within the modern university:

  • Bonus for winning a National Championship: $150,000
  • Bonus for assembling a team that maintains or exceeds a cumulative GPA of 2.8: $25,000

It’s worth noting that the highest possible salary a teacher can earn in the school district where I was educated is $83,949 (source).

Play, think…
J.R. Atwood

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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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