Count USF coach Jeff Scott among the supporters of finding a way to pay Florida high school coaches more.
Scott spoke at the FL Coaches Coalition Clinic at The Westshore Grand late last month. Part of the clinic was focused on an initiative by the Florida Coalition For Higher Coaching Salaries to, as the name suggests, increase salaries for prep coaches.
It’s a subject that’s dear to Scott, who took a job as a head coach/math teacher at a high school in South Carolina soon after he earned his master’s degree. His coaching stipend at Blythewood: $12,000.
That figure (from 17 years ago) is more than three times what most head coaches get in Florida high schools. In Hillsborough County, for example, the figure is $3,736.
Last month, the Dallas Independent School District announced a “one-time salary adjustment” of $15,000 to be more competitive amongst its Texas high school football peers. The starting salary jumped to $95,000, with the average salary exceeding $122,000.
“You’ve got coaches down here that have been working for a long time, and they’re making a $3,000 supplement,” Scott said. “I think it’s good just to have a little awareness.”
Scott brought awareness to the topic when he tweeted about it last week.
He elaborated on it Thursday during his news conference, as the Bulls worked during their first week of spring practice.
“I think between 14 and 18 years old is one of the most critical periods in all of our lives and development,” Scott said. “The decisions that you make and the friends you have, the habits you form, have an impact on the next 40-50 years of your life.
“Coaches are not the only ones — there’s teachers and so many other people — but they’re an important piece of that. I’d love to see us be more competitive so we don’t lose all our best coaches to Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama.”
That’s already happening. The latest, most high-profile example occurred when four-time state champion coach Mike Coe resigned from Madison County High to take a job in Georgia.
Scott called him “one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around” and “an ambassador for high school coaches in the state of Florida.”
If Scott and the Bulls do have a major turnaround this season, center Brad Cecil will be prophetic.
“I think with the talent that we have and the work ethic and the camaraderie, the culture, we definitely have a good shot to be one of the best teams in USF history,” the super senior said. “I’m not saying that just to say that. I truly mean that. I’ve been here for five years now, and I think that this team is really special.”
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