UA Budget Still Needs Improvement, But High Profile Razorback Head Coaches Well Paid

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Jun. 27, 2011 12:55 pm  

This story is from the archives of

Arkansas doesn’t have the financial resources of many of its SEC peers. Once again — despite the efforts of Athletic Director Jeff Long and his staff — the Razorbacks’ revenue and overall operating budget is projected to be near the bottom of the SEC.


Football, basketball and baseball head coaches at Arkansas are all believed to rank among the Top 3 highest-paid coaches in their respective SEC sports. Since December the school has locked up Bobby Petrino (football), Mike Anderson (basketball) and Dave Van Horn (baseball) to long-term and high-paying contracts that few in the league are matching.

That is the topic for a feature I wrote that appears in today’s Arkansas Business. It’s also available at

Here’s a portion of the article, featuring sports business attorney, author and blogger Kristi Dosh, who runs the excellent (seriously can't stress that enough)

Simply throwing money at something isn't a surefire way to ensure wins or losses. But it's a start, and there's an argument to be made that paying for quality head coaches is the right way to begin generating wins and revenue for other parts of the department.

Dosh, who runs, said she views head coaching salaries as an area where athletic departments are most likely to see a return on their investment. Football - often the only sport in an athletic department to generate revenue - is an area where the philosophy "spend money to make money" fits.

It works like this: Attracting quality coaches helps improve the product on the field. Fans, in turn, are more likely to invest their money by buying tickets and making donations to athletics, and the more money made by sports like basketball, football and, in the UA's case, baseball, the more money that trickles down to other areas in the department.

"Coaching salaries - especially with football - are where schools can spend money and see it as an investment," said Dosh, who is working on a book focusing on the business of college athletics. "Hiring a top coach and paying more will, over the course of a number of years, bring improvement and more revenue. ... You can't just hire a football coach for $200,000 and hope for the best."

And you might have heard today that Kentucky Coach John Calipari reached a new deal at his school. That doesn’t change Anderson’s position within the league, but it does show you how quickly numbers can change in a world where schools and coaches are constantly battling to be the best in competition and compensation.



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