It's no secret that NFL coaches make a ton of money to lead a group of professionals in the most popular sports league in the United States. It also doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that some college football coaches make enough money that they could become the governor of an entire state. But what about the salaries high school football coaches, hired to teach teenagers how to become young men?
In Texas, high school football coaches are practically kings. It's not uncommon for these guys to be taking home six figures at the end of the day. Not too shabby for calling plays under those Friday night lights.
MaxPreps released the top five highest-paid high school football coaches in the Lone Star State, and some of them might shock you. These numbers get even scarier when you consider that hundreds of high school coaches make more than $100,000.
Highest-Paid Texas High School Coaches
Lake Travis football HC Hank Carter has a higher annual salary than Texas Governor Greg Abbot. ?
— MaxPreps (@MaxPreps) January 30, 2021
1. Hank Carter, Austin Lake Travis: $158,512
2. Scott Surratt, Carthage: $154,900
3. Todd Dodge, Westlake: $150,000
4. Gary Joseph, Katy: $138,588
5. Randy Allen, Highland Park: $133,875
Hank Carter, who makes more than Texas Governor Greg Abbott (his salary is $153,750) to coach football full-time, has won three state championships in 11 years at Lake Travis. He's also coached the likes of Heisman Trophy winner (and NFL quarterback) Baker Mayfield.
Todd Dodge was a record-setting quarterback at the University of Texas before coaching the North Texas Mean Green from 2007-10. As a high school coach and QB guru, he's churned out top-notch signal callers his entire career, including Heisman Trophy finalist Chase Daniel, undefeated national champion Greg McElroy, and Sam Ehlinger, a name you'll find all over the Texas Longhorns' record book.
As for Carthage's Scott Surratt, he boasts a modest eight state titles since 2007.
Highland Park's Randy Allen has more than 400 wins over the course of his career and ranks third all-time on the state's wins list.
One thing remains the same between all of these men: they win.
More Than 200 Coaches Make At Least $100,000
Back in 2018, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram dove deep into their salary database to find 32 high school teams who played in the quarterfinal round of the Texas High School State Playoffs at the Class 6A and Class 5A levels in 2018. What they found is that not only does it pay to be a high school football coach in Texas, the amount of money they make doing so is beyond eye-opening into the magnitude of an amateur game. When you look at the Star-Telegram's complete database of high school football coach jobs and the money they make, your head will likely spin right off your neck.
In 2018, there were 270 high school coaches in Texas with a salary over $100,000. Let that sink in.
The highest-paid high school football coach remaining among those 32 coaches was the aforementioned Hank Carter, who makes an annual salary of $158,512.
The lowest-paid remaining coach was Eric Peevey, the head football coach of West Brook in Beaumont, Texas. At 13-3, Peevey's Bruins lost to the Longview Lobos in the Class 6A Division II State Championship game in 2018. Peevey was only in his second season coaching West Brook, and the team finished 7-3 the prior season. Eric Peevey made a cool $86,000 in 2018.
For reference, in the Lake Travis Independent School District, where Hank Carter leads the Lake Travis Cavaliers program onto the field, the average high school teacher's salary for the 2016-17 school year was a mere $51,212.
Among the final 32 head coaches in the Class 6A and 5A playoffs in 2018, the average salary among them was $112,375.
Texas HS Coaching Salaries: 2018
Class 6A Division I
Hank Carter, Austin Lake Travis: $158,512
Reginald Samples, Duncanville: $130,969
Terry Gambill, Allen: $126,365
Jonathan Kay, Galena North Shore: $120,133
Edward Pustejovsky, Cy-Fair: $119,036
Jeff Hulme, Waco Midway: $111,415
Sean McAuliffe, Converse Judson: $111,288
Riley Dodge, Southlake Carroll: $97,284
Class 6A Division II
Todd Dodge, Austin Westlake: $150,000
John King, Longview: $133,675
Gregory McCaig, Cypress Creek: $119,860
Kenneth Plunk, Amarillo Tascosa: $114,672
Matt Meekins, Spring Westfield: $104,030
David Branscom, San Antonio Brandeis: $97,783
Jason Tucker, Haltom: $97,722
Eric Peevey, Beaumont West Brook: $86,000
Class 5A, Division I
Randy Allen, Highland Park: $133,875
Ricklan Holmes, Tyler: $109,585
Charles Bruce, San Antonio Wagner: $109,534
Dave Henigan, Denton Ryan: $108,751
Shaun McDowell, Richmond Foster: $104,203
Bradley Butler, Alvin Shadow Creek: $100,175
David Gilpin, Mission Memorial: $96,742
Lon Holbrook, Birdville: $92,646
Class 5A, Division II
Rodney Southern, Huntsville: $121,800
Phil Danaher, Corpus Christi Calallen: $120,963
Richard Whitaker, Port Lavaca Calhoun: $111,201
Chad Cole, Frisco Reedy: $104,698
James Williams, Fort Bend Marshall: $102,061
Max Kattwinkel, Lubbock Cooper: $102,000
Steve Wood, Aledo: $102,000
Mark Bindel, Wichita Falls Rider: $97,026
It's time to take a step back and consider the high school football coach salaries of these football programs. These coaches are helping build brands and local economies in the process for their respective private and public schools' communities, sure, but are high school football team wins really worth more than what an Athletic Director, or even the Governor of Texas, is worth?
Movies like "Friday Night Lights" make Texas football look glamorous, and in reality, it's not too far off.
This reporting from the Star-Telegram is shocking to say the least, but now you have a better understanding on the magnitude and scale that high school sports have on a local economy, and just how valuable years of experience and high school head football coaches really are to the state of Texas and cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.
Anyone interested in a career change?
This post was originally published on December 6, 2018.
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