The UTSA Athletic Program is gearing up to hire a football coach in February 2009. Whoever is hired will not only be coaching UTSA’s first ever football team, but will work on creating a program than can possibly catapult the university to the 1-A division.

According to USA Today, the average college football coach makes about $950,000 a year.

Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey answered a few questions on the topic.

Is there any news, processes or anything about a football coach yet?

“No. We are not even announcing that we officially have football yet. We are, having our football athletic initiative business plan. This is in the hand of the board of executive officials. We are just waiting for them to run this through the chair and the head chair and all the formal things to get permission for us to have a public announcement. So we don’t have that yet, and until we get that in place, it would not be appropriate for us to even advertise for a coach or for us to go around and even offering the position. Our hopes are that we can get the green light to go forward with the program sometime this fall. And then, the best timetable, the best scenario would be to have a coach and maybe three staff members with him by early spring, February/March. But that is all based on us having sanction from the system to go forward. But everybody here internally is ready, so it’s just kind of got to wait for one thing to happen pretty much.”

What the coach’s salary is going to be like for the first year?

“All you have to do is get on the website and there’s a whole section of the finances in there. I think right now, the initiative that was planned two years ago was listed for the head coach at 250,000. That will probably change by the time we actually have someone. We’ll have to adjust for what the market is. But this is not a million dollar coaching job. This is a startup program. Our salaries are going to be set to what the salaries are in the conference. So, you see what Texas State and those others are.”

How does the role of what division we play in affect how much the coach is paid?

“We are 1-AA division, we are not in 1-A. In the first two years of the program, you have to start at 1-AA. The first few years of playing, our first year of playing, we will play division 3 division 2, everybody plays that way, it’s mandatory. And then we just graduate beyond that. And as we make those moves, yes, then our pay scales and the resources we have for the program are going to have to continue with them.”

What are some of the programs we are looking at modeling ourselves after?

“South Florida and Central Florida are really programs we want to pattern ourselves after. When we visited with them at the beginning of the school, we talked to the coaches, the same ones they started the programs with, their coaching staff was basically told that if they take this job, they’ll make sure they eat.””So to start this program from scratch, you’re going to start a market value that’s different then what you would get in an established program. In order to be competitive, we’re going to work very hard to do what it takes to get established. But, initially, we may really be using younger coaches.”

Is it true that we might be bringing coaches out of retirement or looking at coaches that are looking to retire?

“We are going to be looking at people that are very much like that. The people we are going to look at are going to have to, financially, make a decision. You’re sports editor isn’t not too far off base.”

The average full professor only makes around 80k and a coach might make even more than some of our administrative staff. Why?

“I don’t know how to answer that, that is a very philosophical question. I think there is concern on the national level from the NCAA office that, across the country, we’ve gotten into an arms race. We don’t want to be a program of extravagance, but we certainly want to be a competitive program. So we’re going to make decisions based on the finances we have and I think it’s important for our internal and external public to know, is that we’re not taking money away. No one on this campus is going to give us money that would go to academics to come to athletics. That’s not going to happen. “The reason that we’re all here is because we want to the very best faculty and to have the very best classrooms. And hopefully, as we develop this program, we can become an asset to that also.” “If we can establish our program and add the facilities and add the football and get us affiliated with a different conference, Southland conference is great, Southland has a good group of schools, but Dr. Ramos academic goal is to be a Tier 1 research university. That means we need to have a Tier 1 campus life. If through our athletic intitiaive we can get UTSA affliated with a conference with schools like SMU, U-Tech, Rice, Houston, then we will be an asset to trying to reach that academic seminar. “Now, it takes money, and it takes time. But we’re very excited. The next 5-10 years are going to be a lot of fun.”That’s really all I have. Anything else?”It’s just really important that we come off and have really good relationships with the campus and the faculty and staff. And sure, it is going, I can understand from the faculty/staff perspective, but we are going to do this the right way. We’re not going to pull away from academics. We believe and the research has shown that we are going to grow the pot of money for UTSA academics; we’re not going to diminish it. So that’s our goal, that’s how we want to do it.

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