Mailbox: Readers sound off on Ohio State football coaches' salaries

Brian White
The Columbus Dispatch

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Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Knowles coaches during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022.

On Ohio State coaching salaries

To Brian: Your own OSU beat writer Joey Kaufman has it right in his insightful article on Brian Hartline. Coach Hartline says, "I try to decide what's a good play call in each situation and go from there." It remains to be determined whether coach Ryan Day will delegate play-calling duties to him. It remains to be sort of a trial run. I believe many of your readers would love to get a 60% pay raise to $1.6 million per year for a trial run. Give us a break!

As far as defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, did he receive his 3% raise for total defensive schemes, or his linebacker coaching? Should there have been a decrease of approximately 15-16% in pay for the defensive schemes in the Michigan and Georgia games? Just asking, as it would have saved the athletic department some of the money it borrowed from the university.

Larry Hood, Worthington

March 25, 2023; Seattle, WA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Kevin McGuff embraces Ohio State Buckeyes forward Cotie McMahon (32) as she is interviewed by media following a 73-61 win over UConn Huskies in an NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen game at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Saturday. Ohio State advances to the Elite Eight. Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch

To the editor: Ohio State women’s basketball was amazing this year. They made it to the Elite Eight with an exciting brand of basketball. Coach Kevin McGuff, despite the success of the team, is compensated substantially less annually than coach Ryan Day and coach Chris Holtmann, with Day cashing out for $9.5 million compensation, Holtmann $3.5 million compensation and McGuff $1.05 million. While all three salaries are obscene given that in November 2022 Columbus had over 73 thousand people on governmental financial assistance and over 1.4 million on government food assistance, at least the pay in big-time coaches for men's and women’s teams should be in the same stratosphere compared to the less fortunate among us.

Michael Oser, Columbus

To Brian: I am no expert on the matter, but I spent a total of nine years on coach Tressel's and Nick Saban's staffs in the 2000s. Successful programs depend on recruiting the best players, then developing them to reach their full potential. Recruiting has changed drastically in the past 15 years, and so has hiring and keeping outstanding coaches.  

The first thing head coaches look at is the recruiting history of the candidate, then how good a coach they are. If your package is not better than your competition, you lose the best candidates. When your coaches leave, you lose continuity and have to find and retrain a coach to fit your system. To be the best, you have to hire the best. It's as simple as that. It is the world we live in.

Maybe we should be asking how members of Congress become multimillionaires on a salary of $174,000 a year, instead of why universities pay coaches so much money.

Todd Alles

Mar 7, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes offensive coordinator Brian Hartline motions during spring football drills at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

To the editor: I don't think readers realize the value of coaches. Brian Hartline was about to be swooped up by about 25 colleges or 12 NFL teams, so giving these guys raises in this day and age when each team is making about $75 million off the TV contract, they can afford it. And remember the new contract for TV, and remember USC and UCLA are coming.

Mike Dooley

Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen speaks to the media during Media Day at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on September 21, 2021.

On the Columbus Blue Jackets

To the editor: Having just read Rob Oller’s article, "Lost Souls," I see part of the problem in regard to the Blue Jackets. There is no accountability. CBJ upper management doesn’t hold those under them accountable, and the media, until very recently, is uninterested in holding current management accountable. To suggest that the ghost of Doug MacLean’s leadership is somehow even partially responsible for the current embarrassment in Nationwide Arena contributes to the problem. Jarmo Kekalainen has been in charge for 10 years. He is the owner of all that is currently wrong with the Blue Jackets. For years, all I heard from the media was what a great eye for talent Jarmo brings to the organization. Even a couple years ago when the defense was systematically dismantled, all the press coverage was telling the fans not to worry. Jarmo had drafted more fine defensemen than the team could possibly need. We are seeing Jarmo’s players on the ice now, not Doug MacLean’s. Ten years of draft picks have amounted to what? On those few occasions when a draft pick has appeared to be a player who could actually make a positive impact, his time in Columbus has been short lived. He becomes a restricted free agent, and Jarmo’s, “we hold hammer; they’ll have to take what we give them and like it”, negotiating method alienates the players and they move on. 

He protected Matt Calvert because he had another bottom-six forward he judged to be a better option to give away in the expansion draft. The guy (William Karlsson), who the judges of talent in Columbus had playing 8-10 minutes a game on the fourth line, immediately scores 40+ goals in Las Vegas. And then Columbus doesn’t even bother resigning Calvert the following years. What a joke.

He handed out a big, fat contract to a goalie who had proven himself for all of part of one season. Now the organization is back to having a Steve Mason type situation. The goalie can’t find his first-year effectiveness. The CBJ can’t trade him because no other team wants to spend $5 million per year for a save percentage in the 80s. And while the team is in desperate need of defense, they are forced to trade their best goalie and best defenseman because they have no cap space to keep them.

But the fans should not worry.  The draft is just around the corner and Columbus has a lot of great picks penciled in on their draft card. 

Paul Burchett, Pickerington

Mar 25, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Crew forward Christian Ramirez (17) scores a goal against Atlanta United during the second half of their MLS game at Stadium.

On the Columbus Crew

To the editor: Last year, the Crew II won the Inaugural League II championship. I went to the match. It was here in Columbus.  I was very impressed with how the second team played.  

Since this weekend was an international break, our star players were with their national teams. Enter a bunch of the second teamers, plus two new acquisitions who had not even been on a game-day roster yet. Both my friend and I felt if we could at least secure a point at home we would take it. When we went ahead around the 20th minute, somewhat against the run of play, we rejoiced that we were able to take that lead into halftime. Holding onto a 1-0 win would have sent us home relieved and happy. One of the new acquisitions, a forward, we were derailing as useless. Slow, fumbled the ball a lot. Out of position. We were looking to the bench for a better option.  

The second half was a new game. They moved the ball quickly, efficiently, effortlessly, without so much as a look (or so it seemed). Honestly, it could have been 10-1, with Atlanta's one goal coming only because we gave the ball to their forward in front of the goal. Our keeper barely saw the ball defensively beyond that. 

The forward we were criticizing scored twice, with nice finishes. Was man of the match. Four other second teamers scored. Most goals I have ever seen in a Crew game. The crowd was calling for more. In the end, we left bewildered, but happy.  

Our new coach, Wilfried Nancy, whose new style of play had not completely taken hold of everyone yet, will have some tough decisions to make now.  A good problem.  

Josh Eaton, Columbus

South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley stands on the court during team practice at American Airlines Center in Dallas ahead of Friday's Final Four.

On college basketball

Dear Editor: With college men's basketball programs' successes being so driven by the effectiveness of their head coaches, why is it that we never hear of any effort to hire the best coach available regardless of gender? I don't know if Dawn Staley, Tara Vanderveer, Muffett McGraw or any other of a number of great female basketball coaches would want to coach a men's team, but why don't we ever read anything about someone trying to do this?

Coaching is teaching is an accurate saying we hear all the time. Are not many of the best teachers women? Are women not some of the best leaders there are? Basketball fundamentals do not change depending on the gender of the players.

Is sexism even stronger than all of the money and increased enrollment that comes from success on the court in March? Must be.

Doug Shoemaker, Westerville

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Trevor Williams (32) winds up to throw as the pitch clock runs during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

On baseball

To Brian: I used to think that the problem of pitchers and batters bogging down the pace of games between pitches could be resolved by having me stationed nearby armed with a taser to give someone like Mike Hargrove a slight correction when necessary. Maybe this pitch clock is a better alternative.

Levity aside, that's a good first step. But the snail's pace of today is also because there are many more pitches per game with fewer balls put in play. With "patient" hitters trying to hit home runs, games now have about 300 pitches per game with maybe 45 balls put in play over three hours. I'd suspect those numbers were more like 60 balls put in play on 200 pitches over two hours a century ago.  

Babe Ruth's first MLB game took 93 minutes. Many other examples can be made, and while the length of the game isn't the issue, it reflects the pace, which is −and I'm guessing − there weren't 300 pitches with 250 providing no action in that game.  

I have advocated for a minor league to experiment with three balls constituting a walk and see what happens. Make pitchers pitch strikes and see if more balls aren't put into play more often. No one seems interested in even trying it in a low minor league while baseball continues to become less and less relevance.  

Dennis Singleton, Dayton

Johnny Bench led the Reds to the World Series in 1970. Cincinnati lost to Baltimore but would win back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976. [AP FILE PHOTO]

On the Cincinnati Reds

To Brian: The Reds will be challenged again this year and likely will be the rest of my life. But they had yesterday and have had 10 players named MVP and can put together an all-time fantasy team of MVPs few other teams could assemble. 

1.  Pete Rose, 3B2.  Joe Morgan, 2B3.  Frank Robinson, RF4.  George Foster, CF5.  Johnny Bench, C6.  Ernie Lombardi, DH7.  Joey Votto, LF**8..  Barry Larkin, SS9.  Frank McCormick, 1BBucky Walters, P

** Votto played left field when he first broke in

Denis Singleton, Dayton         

Satchel Paige, legendary Negro Leagues hurler signed by the Cleveland Indians, grips a baseball while he discusses his new role with Indians' president Bill Veeck in Cleveland, Ohio, July 7, 1948.  (AP Photo)

On Satchel Paige

To Brian: Last Sunday's photo of Guardians' pitcher Triston McKenzie (6-5, 165) reminded me of Satchel Paige (6-3, 180), who pitched for Cleveland in 1948. Paige's original name was Page, later changed by his parents to give it a more distinguished character. The nickname "Satchel" (for Leroy Robert) referenced his job as a youth carrying travel bags in a railway station. He helped Cleveland win the World Series title over the Boston Braves at age 42, his first year in the major leagues. His salary was $40,000. He finished his career with Kansas City at age 59, still a record.  "Age is a question of mind over matter," remarked Paige. "If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Larry Cheek, Dublin

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