Varsity Blues: What they're saying about money matters

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Sat. July 13, 2013 | Times Staff

Varsity Blues: What they're saying about money matters

Mention money, and coaches/administrators have plenty to say:

“I feel like a show pony right now. I’ve jumped through flaming hoops, little hoops, big hoops.” — Matt Wicks, Anclote football coach who is trying to start an online fundraiser via Twitter and Facebook and has little luck getting the go-ahead from the school district

“We don’t make a lot of money, but I think that when you get into it you already know that. …It’s not the coaching part, it’s everything else that we have to do for the same amount of money. Especially baseball and softball because we have to maintain our fields. … Centralized funding is great, don’t get me wrong. But …if the kids all want to wear matching socks, we have to buy the socks.” — Autum Hernandez, Freedom softball coach

“If we got paid even minimum wage, it would shut down high school athletics. They would not be able to afford it. I would bet you if you added up the hours, we end up paying to coach.” — Mike Jalazo, Northeast football coach

“I remember one year when (the girls team) went to the final four (2006), I was talking to (Palm Harbor University girls coach) John Planamenta about this and we figured we were making under a dollar an hour. And when you figure in the things that you buy, like bagels for homecoming and stuff like that, you probably end up losing money. But you do it because you love coaching.” — Rui Farias, St. Petersburg girls and boys soccer coach

“We don’t pay our coaches anything. It’s an absolute embarrassment and a travesty what we pay our coaches, or don’t pay our coaches.” — Earl Garcia, Hillsborough football coach

“The biggest thing that hurts baseball is not having a junior varsity. It would cost hardly anything. ...Instead, we can only keep so many players and unless you are outstanding as a freshman, you aren’t going to play much. So what happens when Pinellas goes out of the county in the playoffs? Look at this year. We get killed by King (12-0). Dunedin loses to Jesuit (11-1). Seminole loses to Steinbrenner (6-1). That’s why there aren’t many state championships by the public schools here.” — Stefan Futch, Osceola baseball coach

“For years, it didn’t matter if you went 0-10 year-in and year-out, you were left alone. Now, if you’re going to put  that on coaches, saying ‘If you don’t win you’re out,’ then you’d better start paying these people commiserate money that goes along with the hours that you put in.” — Mike DePue, former Robinson football coach

“It’s hard to get good coaches. There’s no (financial) benefit to coaching. …You have to love it.” —  Vicky King, Land O’Lakes girls soccer coach

“Unless you pack the stands every Friday night, you’re gonna have financial issues. You’re gonna have things you need that you’re not gonna get right away.” —  Jay Fulmer, Ridgewood football coach

“In Georgia, you might make more money as a coach, but you could be fired if you don’t have a winning season. That doesn’t happen here. I don’t know of any coach in Pinellas County that has been fired because of wins and losses. Sure, everyone would like to make a nice bundle of money. In sports, most feel they’re not compensated enough at every level except the big leagues. In high school, you do it for the love of the game. And our coaches do a tremendous job.” — Nick Grasso, Pinellas County athletic director

“Coaches basically lose money doing high school soccer. There’s not pay for assistants so you’re also asking assistants to put in time for getting paid nothing. Obviously the money is not good. When you don’t have a family it’s kind of easier because you can work 24 hours a day and have nobody to answer to. … It just got to be a little too much.” — Eric Sims, who recently resigned as Gaither boys soccer coach

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