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Win or lose, it pays to be a coach at USF


It is time to admit USF is spending an absurd amount of money on coaches that no longer call themselves Bulls.

USF has agreed to pay a total of $7 million to coaches no longer employed at the university. This includes the recent firing of men’s basketball coach Stan Heath and former head football coaches Jim Leavitt and Skip Holtz.

All three coaches were fired while under contract, so each still receives the pay that was promised. These large contract extensions were all due to over-eagerness caused by a good season or two from each coach. However, in the cases of Holtz and Heath, as soon as the honeymoon is over and the losses start appearing on the board, the coaches are fired, despite having more years left on their contracts and multimillion-dollar paychecks.

These contracts and abrupt firings show the ugly side of USF’s desperate attempts to catapult the school into the realm of successful athletic programs seen at schools such as the University of Florida and Florida State.

Ambitiously throwing money at a winning coach and quickly dismissing a losing one creates more of a patchwork than a family environment.

The main criticism comes when examining the track records of both coaches. Heath has been at USF for seven seasons and after a good one in 2012, he signed a six-year contract. This contract is still in effect even though he has been fired and allows him to see a total of $1.5 million over the next four years.

Rather than just holding Heath until his contract expires to see if he can get his current freshmen-heavy team moving, he was let go. Now, the school gets to pay for his contract as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars to the next coach.

The loss of Heath recalls the memory of how Holtz also got a contract extension after a good
season, but was fired after a losing one. Yet, Holtz still receives the $2.5 million his contract guaranteed him even after he
was fired.

While USF is paying off Holtz and paid Leavitt’s $2.75 million dollar settlement after a lawsuit against his termination, current head football coach Willie Taggart is seeing an overly hefty annual paycheck of $400,000, in addition to $750,000 in compensation for public relations and endorsements. Taggart, who signed last year, has a contract for five years that totals
$5.75 million.

Hopefully after a having a rough 2-10 regular season, Taggart has a better one up his sleeve — otherwise, he might be out of a job in the near future. Either way, though, he shouldn’t worry because he will still be fairly compensated.

Overall, coaching seems like a nice job at a school that complains about budget cuts. One could be a coach, or even not be a coach, and still make millions of dollars.

Adam Mathieu is a sophomore majoring in studio art.