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October 26, 2012

Coaching salaries and Horry County

For those of you who missed it this morning, The State newspaper produced an extensive report on high school football coaching salaries from around South Carolina.

Near the top of the list - No. 4, to be specific - was Conway's Chuck Jordan. The Tigers coach and athletics director eclipsed six figures annually ($100,295) this school year after a sub-two-percent raise from last year. Needless to say, people see the overall number and tend to get fired up.

But what The State did not do (simply because it focused more on the Midlands area) is put some context behind Jordan's salary.

Yes, Jordan is the fourth-highest paid coach in the state, but of the others in the top 10, he has been at his current position longer than all but one of the of the others. Stratford's Ray Stackley started there the same year (1983) Jordan took over at Conway. Jordan and Stackley have the rest of the group beat by a minimum of nine years, and in some cases, much longer.

Lexington coach and athletics director Scott Earley, for instance, has been at his school for less than three years. Earley, who was at Myrtle Beach through the 2008 football season, is No. 3 in the state in terms of earnings. He makes more than $103,000 annually.

Part of that can be attributed to factors like cost of living, wiggle room for individual school districts to negotiate salary for new hires and even experience within the state.

The State correctly pointed out that high school football coaching salaries can be elevated to figures like Jordan's, Earley's and longtime Irmo coach Bob Hanna's (No. 1 in state at $106,214 annually) by also being the athletics director. Every coach in The State's top-10 list was also the A.D.

That couldn't be more true locally. Horry County Schools has put a premium on athletics directors' salaries. Recent estimates state that as many as 35-40 percent of students at some schools are participating in sports at various levels. The people responsible for hiring and firing coaches and putting together competition schedules for all those students, the county decided, are taken care of.

St. James A.D. Paula Lee is now making more than $84,000 annually. Carolina Forest's Boe Rainbow is making approximately $82,000 per year. Jordan is the only football coach in Horry County who is also the school's athletics director, per recent district policy (Jordan was grandfathered in around the policy).

Those numbers reaffirm that the district also rewards longevity within Horry County. Newer administrators and coaches must earn their salaries through time. Second year Myrtle Beach A.D. John Cahill, as an example, is making approximately $56,000 per year based on the most recent figures available.

Figures for Horry County Schools employees can be found here. Keep in mind that this list is from last spring; most employees did receive at least a minimal raise. Also, the threshold for salary disclosure is $50,000. Typically, if a salary is less than that, it will not be shown.


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About the author

Ian Guerin has been covering sports in Myrtle Beach since 2005 and in South Carolina since 2004. In that time, he has served as a reporter on the college and high school beats at multiple publications. You can reach him directly via ian@ianguerin.com.

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