High School Sports

Vote passed on raises, reform for coaches’ pay

Horry County Schools board of education.
Horry County Schools board of education.

Horry County football coaches got their wish Monday night.

The district school board approved a 2015-2016 budget that included raises for eight of the nine coaches by moving their teacher salary to a 220-day pay scale. That’s up from the previous 190-day system used, the area’s coaches will see raises from between $5,000 and $12,000 depending on their current teaching salaries.

Also approved Monday was a new system for all varsity coaches across the board that creates a singular supplement amount per sport. Experience will no longer be taken into account, although the specific supplement totals were not immediately known.

The biggest change, though, was for the eight football coaches who were not already on 220-day contracts. It was a move that happened, in part, because of early conversations by Myrtle Beach’s Mickey Wilson, Loris’ Jamie Snider and Aynor’s Jody Jenerette.

“Obviously it’s going to help,” Jenerette said. “If I’m a coach now and I look at that salary scale and it’s $10,000 more than it was, it’s more attractive. I hope what we did helps. What we were trying to do was get us on par with the rest of the state for doing the same job that they’re doing.”

The biggest critique of the outgoing scales is that it didn’t reflect the coaches’ offseason work, specifically in the summer months.

Coaches are expected to continue to train players, conduct and participate in seven-on-seven camps and monitor weight-room activities. It’s something that Snider, who came to Loris after serving as the offensive coordinator at CCU, recognized was an issue.

“You weren’t allowed by the NCAA [to practice in the summer],” he said. “Yet in high school, that’s kind of where you get your team ready, in June or July. Our first practice is July 31. We scrimmage one week later. Then the Kickoff Classic is the week after that. Those of us who play Week 0, the next week is the first game. There’s a lot of work you have to do to get them in shape.”

While the three coaches may have gotten the ball rolling, they’ve also unilaterally called it a “chain-of-command” policy change. They took it to their athletics directors, who proceeded to Horry County Schools. Jenerette, for instance, said he never spoke to anyone at the district office about this.

Both the 220-day football scale and the supplement changes for non-football coaches were proposed by the Human Resources committee at a board meeting last month. Immediately, Daryl Brown, the district’s de facto athletics director, said he was also behind the move.

It was approved without further discussion at Monday’s board meeting.

The only football coach it won’t affect is Conway’s Chuck Jordan, who has also served as the school’s athletics director and will move into an assistant principal role next year. His base pay already stems from a 220-day scale because of his administrative role.

That’s something, however, that wasn’t available to other coaches. Horry County Schools outlawed the practice, still used in many parts of South Carolina, more than a decade ago. This should help offset that some.

A coach currently making $35,000 a year for the teacher portion of his salary would see a raise of approximately $5,500 annually. Those currently making $50,000 would make an additional $7,895, and one pulling in $75,000 a year would receive nearly $12,000 a year more.

Those figures are all before taxes and or other paycheck withdraws, such as retirement, insurance, etc. Each could would then still be paid his regular supplement on top of it. For the 2014-2015 school year, football coaches in Horry County were paid between $7,113 and $8,670 annually for their time with the sport, although that figure will be streamlined because of the secondary action Monday.

“What we’ve done is make it more enticing if there were a head coaching opening,” Snider said. “Now if one of us left, there might be more high-profile guys come down here now. The teacher pay in the county is pretty good. … I think this is for the greater good.”

Said Jenerette: “It’s a huge step. The way we were doing it before was very archaic. It was needing a change.”