College golf coaches, even in Division I, rarely earn salaries on par with their basketball, football and ice hockey counterparts. This is largely due to the fact that these sports generate much more revenue for the school than golf’s humble earnings. Still, depending on the size of the school and the prestige of the team, college golf coaches can earn a respectable income. The National Collegiate Athletic Association released a 2011 report that details coach salaries based on Division I subdivision, sport and gender.
The head coach of a college golf team is responsible for all administration and coordination of the team. She must recruit players, use technical knowledge of the game to improve players’ skills, establish and work within an annual budget, and stay on top of NCAA, conference and college regulations of the sport. She may also be responsible for fundraising. Carrying out these duties often requires coaches to work irregular hours, including weekends, evenings and holidays. According to the NCAA report, the average men’s head golf coach earns approximately $58,333. Women, on the other hand, earn slightly less with an average salary of $52,000.
Salary by Subdivision
The NCAA report breaks down Division I coaching salaries by subdivision: Football Bowl Series and Football Championship Series. These subdivisions generally only apply to football, and are differentiated from one another by the number of scholarships allowed per year, minimum attendance requirements and post-season play for the school’s football teams.
The report also includes a category for Division I schools without football. Men’s golf coaches within the FBS subdivision earn by far the most of all subdivisions, with an average salary of $105,000; women again earn less than men in this subdivision, taking in an average of $89,000 per year. In the FCS, however, women earn slightly more -- $32,000 per year compared to men’s $30,000 per year. Finally, in Division I schools with no football, men earn $40,000 annually, while women earn an average of only $35,000.
The only category to provide an annual salary for assistant coaches is the FBS, though it is unclear whether this is the only subdivision that has assistant coaches, whether assistant coaches in the other categories are unpaid or whether information for the other subdivisions is unknown. Assistant coaches are generally responsible for aiding the head coach in all duties, conditioning players to improve their skills and take on any additional duties assigned by the head coach. Both men’s and women’s head coaches in the FBS earn an average of $32,000 per year.
Comparison to Other Sports
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average coach of a college sports team earns an annual salary of $51,550, meaning that both men’s and women’s golf coaches earn slightly more than average. In almost all Division I subdivisions, however, golf coaches are on the lower end of the earnings spectrum in relation to other sports, according to the NCAA report. The highest earning sports in most categories are football, basketball, ice hockey and lacrosse. For example, an FBS men’s football coach earns an average salary of $1,383,000 and an FBS men’s basketball coach earns an average of $962,000, compared to men’s golf average salary of $105,000. The lowest-paying sports vary by subdivision, but golf is frequently among the lowest-paid sports, along with rifle, skiing, tennis and fencing.
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