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Friday, January 16, 2009
Endowed college coaching positions

Something I just discovered this week: The head coaching positions for Stanford's football and men's basketball teams are endowed. Football coach Jim Harbaugh is the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football; Basketball coach Johnny Dawkins is the Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men's Basketball.

It seems like a good idea for everyone involved. The endowment presumably pays or helps pay salaries that probably are in the mid- or high-six figures. It seems like the type of naming opportunity a sports-minded donor would jump at--after all, the donor's name will be announced over the PA system during pre-game intros in front of 10,000 or 60,000 fans. Has anyone heard of other schools doing this? Does anyone know why Stanford alone seems to have gone this route?


Katie Amonte Hiller, Northwestern Women's Lacrosse Coach, is also endowed.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 1/17/2009 12:06 AM  

The University of Illinois has several endowed coaching positions, including football and men's basketball.

OpenID frankthetank -- 1/17/2009 12:20 AM  

I think this is a great idea.

However, on a far more fundamental level, why is it that when a university alumnus donates money toward recruiting a great college coach that the alumnus is called a "donor" and the money goes toward a "distinguished chair;" however when an alumnus does the same exact thing toward recruiting a great college basketball player the alumnus is called a "booster" and the money is called "improper?"

We all know what the quick answer. However, is it possible that NCAA semantics have done at least a little bit to skew our perspective?

Blogger Marc Edelman -- 1/17/2009 10:53 AM  

Marc: Interesting thought. But I am not sure I agree that the difference is entirely one of NCAA semantics. Coaches are employees of the university and thus entitled to be paid, while student-athletes are not employees and not entitled to be paid (other than to cover the costs of school). We can debate whether this is how it ought to be and whether athletes ought to be paid. But the current status gap is more than semantic.

But it does raise an interesting thought: If a school can get an endowment for a coaching slot, could it do so for a player slot--could the University of Florida offer the "John and Jane Smith Starting Quarterback" scholarship?

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 1/17/2009 3:35 PM  

Howard - this is the case at a number of schools, and not necessarily in the premier (sports). What gets interesting is when you have something like what happened at Boston College. Greg Barber (BC'69) endowed the head football coach position while Tom O'Brien was the HC. By all accounts, Barber and TOB were friends, so when BC's now infamous AD, Gene DeFilipo let TOB leave for NC State, Barber was not happy.

Now that BC's football HC is back to a long time BC guy (Spaziani), I have to think Barber is happy again.

To the point of endowing a particular scholarship, I see no problem there as it happens with individual students based on academic achievement, financial need, student traits (gender/religion/race), and dedication to service work/volunteerism.

Blogger Tim Epstein -- 1/19/2009 3:38 PM  

Many of the Ivy's coaching positions are endowed.

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