Doug Robinson: High school athletic directors challenge salary claims made in Salt Lake Tribune
Lynn Moncur, a teacher at Brighton High School, recently found his name and salary listed in a local newspaper not named the Deseret News.
It was in a box at the top of the first page of the UTAH section under the headline, "High School Athletic Director Salaries." Moncur was one of nine athletic directors whose salary was listed. He was at the top of the list.
According to the newspaper, Moncur makes $101,922 in "gross compensation" as a high school athletic director — or $140,716 if you include benefits (401K contributions, insurance, etc.) — making him the highest paid A.D. in the state.
Morgan Brown, the A.D. at Alta High, came in second at $100,839/$138,589.
Third place: Michael O'Connor, A.D. at Westlake, $84,835/$123,967.
And fourth place: Scott Briggs, A.D. at West Jordan, $79,084/$110,959.
What's wrong with this picture? Just about everything, and it should be pretty obvious unless you really believe a high school athletic director makes six figures. The report isn't just misleading; it's silly and wrong.
I tracked down Moncur and Brown in their offices, where they were counting their money and sitting on piles of $100 bills (not really). What did they think of the newspaper report?
"It makes me mad," Brown said. "It doesn't represent what I do."
"It makes it look like, yeah, you want to be an athletic director," said Moncur.
And you don't want to be an athletic director — trust me on this (I'll explain later) — but there are some other points that need to be clarified first, not the least of which is this:
Moncur and Brown — who have been teachers for about 30 years — are NOT paid $80,000 to $100,000 to be athletic directors. They are paid $80,000 to $100,000 to be a teacher, a driver's ed instructor and an athletic director.
It's not one job, it's three.
The Salt Lake Tribune pulled the salaries off Utahsright.com, a website that, among other things, reveals the salaries of all public employees in Utah (the website states that it is "presented by the Salt Lake Tribune"). The problem, as illustrated in this case, is that simple numbers don't always tell the story.
The A.D. job pays between $5,000 and $6,000 per school year — not $100,000 — and considering the hours A.D.s put in to earn that money, they might as well work at 7-Eleven.
In addition to teaching duties in the classroom, Moncur and Brown put in 16-22 hours a week in the car with driver's ed students and another 10-20 hours a week as athletic director. They work a minimum of 70-80 hours a week.
Like a lot of other male schoolteachers, they realized quickly they couldn't support a family on just a teacher's salary, so they supplemented their incomes by getting a driver's ed teaching certificate and took a job driving with students on the range and the road. They also got their master's degrees by attending class at night and in the summer, and took a job as athletic director.
To fit it all in, they arrive at school at 5 a.m. to take students on the road and before class begins, then stay after school to perform their A.D. jobs or work more on the driving range. After a day in the classroom, they work until 5, but if there is a game that day — basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, whatever — they work till 10 or 11. On the day of basketball games, Brown will work from 3-9, and for that he makes $58.
Still want to be an athletic director?
The job entails the following: Preparing athletic fields for games, completing paperwork for the state athletic association, checking the grades of every athlete for eligibility purposes, filling out all-state and all-academic submissions, ordering buses, overseeing game-management officials, media, concession stands and gate receipts, dealing with the inevitable issues from coaches and athletes from 19 sports.
On a regular basis, Brown and Moncur field phone calls and texts from coaches, other A.D.s and administrators until 10 p.m.
Last week, when Alta's field was under repair, Brown had to go to the school five times on Saturday and Sunday to oversee the work and open and lock gates and bathrooms.
Given all that, Brown's reaction to the newspaper report is understandable: "It is horribly misleading," he says.
If all that weren't enough, the numbers don't add up. Brown says he's never made six figures even while working three jobs. And Moncur says, "They said we have $40,000 in benefits. I don't see that anywhere. It's really inflated."
Browns sums up the situation best when he says, "I love working with these guys (other athletic directors). They all work their butts off and put in a lot of time for hardly anything."
Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.