Coaching Pay Talk

Coaching Pay Talk

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 30, 2007
  • 4 Comments

I may in a way be a few days late on this discussion but during the off season there is really a never bad time to talk about anything. Most of you saw the Frank Dell’Apa article about the coaching salaries in the MLS and how much of a disparity there is between a couple coaches and the rest of the league.

For year’s we have been curious about what coaches make but never realy had any numbers to prove they were underpaid or not. Now we have some idea and can talk about them in a way that we do with the player’s salaries. I will run down the numbers at the end of this post, but it was interesting to find out that clubs spending the least on a coach were getting the best results in the past year, while clubs that over spend saw little value in the process.

Obviously New York had to overspend in some ways to get Bruce Arena to coach for them. Even after Bruce led the US National team to a bombing-out-type results in the last World Cup, he was still expected to be a pretty high-paid coach no matter where he went. New York knew that and paid him nicely. Too bad the results on the field for his club didn’t show up to be the same level as his pay.

Now reasons like injury and some poor management moves are to blame on that.

But as the salary cap increases, the coaching salaries should reflect that kind of change. Biggest reason is because the higher-priced talent that comes in the higher-priced coach needs to be hired to handle those kinds of stars.

Looks at the Galaxy. “Sexy-football” coach Ruud Gullitt’s contract is something short of ridiculous by MLS standards of yesterday. A three-year contract, tallying over $4 million is really a stretch for a guy that has hardly seen success across the pond and hasn’t even seen a second of a regular season game in the MLS. But due to the Galaxy having David Beckham, they also needed a coach that was on a similar level in terms of name and price. Gullitt was in a way that man, though some will probably still wonder if it was the right move at the time until they see results next year.

But look at clubs that reached the MLS Cup, Houston and New England. Both underpay their coaches by a lot when comparing them to the Galaxy and the Red Bulls. Both Dominic Kinnear and Steve Nicol are the league’s most successful coaches in recent years yet they make in the $250,000 range and $175,000 range, respectively.

In the case of Nicol, once his contract finishes up next year, he will have earned in seven years what Gullitt will have made in one.

Kinnear is actually really near the top of the coaching food chain in terms of pay but everyone else seems to be slightly inverted in a way of looking at performance-to-pay. For the most part it is due to clubs being unclear about what they want in a coach, having no clue either way about a coach, hiring the wrong guy, or just a poor technical direction.

As the league has grown so has the paying scale for coaches. It will continue to grow as the league expands and brings in more top-flight players. The demand is starting to increase for better coaching around the league. You can always tell a club that is good because their coaching level equals their talent level. Clubs that are bad either have a bad coach and bad talent or just a bad coach overall.

We can again turn to David Beckham for changing the league. However with the coaching its now Ruud Gullitt that is also helping shape the league for coaches and their pay. Assistants will soon be paid a year what most head coaches get paid, while head coaches will earn a healthy living like Gullitt.

It will be some time before we actually see that day but it is coming real soon I believe. I think the day of under-paying a coach like Nicol is soon to be over. Getting to a MLS Cup final, a US Open Cup final and winning in the SuperLiga should amount for something and soon enough it will for coaches.

MLS Coaching Salaries (according to the Dell’Apa article):

Rudd Gullit (LA) = $4 Mil over 3 years = $1.33 Million a year.
Bruce Arena (NY) = $600,000 a year, $1.2 Mil buyout.
Dominic Kinear (Hou) = $250,000
Frank Yallop (SJ) = $210,000
Juan Carlos Osorio (Chi) > $200,000
Mo Johnston (TFC) > $200,000
Jason Kreis (RSL) > $200,000
Sigi Schmid (Clb) > $200,000
Curt Onalfo (KC) < $200,000
Preki (CUSA) < $200,000
Tom Soehn (DCU) < $200,000
Fernando Clavijo (Col) < $200,000
Steve Morrow (FCD) < $200,000
Steve Nicol (NE) = $175,000

  • tower0surfer

    It seems that alot of the older long term contracts are on the low side. Nicol will able to <br />
    command quite a bit of money in the next few years, especially as new clubs come into the league

  • tower0surfer

    It seems that alot of the older long term contracts are on the low side. Nicol will able to
    command quite a bit of money in the next few years, especially as new clubs come into the league

  • J.D. Rollins

    That explains why Sigi is such a terrible tipper.

  • J.D. Rollins

    That explains why Sigi is such a terrible tipper.