5 Factors That Affect How Much High School Basketball Coaches Earn

You are a local high school instructor, and you’ve just been asked to coach this year. How much do high school basketball coaches make in a year?

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How much do high school basketball coaches make?

A High school basketball coach is often a teacher handling extra duties as a coach. The school district pays a stipend on top of their regular salary as compensation. Depending on the school’s size and the coach’s experience level, additional salaries range from $1,000 to $10,000 per season. 

If you are considering coaching high school basketball just for the money, don’t bother. In many school districts, the average high school basketball coach is a current instructor with a degree in education who has agreed to the added responsibility of coaching. 

While the love for the game and a desire to impact young hearts and minds might motivate them, chances are the money they receive for the extra time and effort will not. 

Many school districts are strapped financially and have few resources to pay top-quality coaches and refs solely to lead their basketball teams. To save funds, they pick a willing teacher, give them the title and point him toward the gym. Districts often write terms for the payment of additional stipends into teachers’ contracts during hiring so that everyone will know how much the added time and effort are worth. 

What Does a Public High School Coach Make?

Generally, depending on the district, a teacher can expect to earn an additional $1,000 – $10,000 per season for coaching the school’s basketball program. 

While the average salaries of high school basketball coaches have historically been higher for a boys’ basketball coach, the disparity in the salaries for both boys’ and girls’ programs is shrinking to be more in line with each other in recent years.  

What Are the Factors That Determine Salary?

While the exact parameters are unique to each district, these primary factors can affect how a high school basketball coach’s salary is determined. 

The Size of the School

Each state’s athletic association determines the classification ranking for high school sports. The idea is to group similar middle and high school teams into the same grade. The classifications prevent a large school from playing a smaller school with limited abilities or resources. 

Considering that nearly a million students across the country play high school basketball alone, there is a need for a system to ensure competitive equity. Most states base the classification on enrollment numbers for a given year.

While the grading system may vary from state to state, most athletic associations rank their high schools into different classes, from the smallest to the largest. (1A, 2A, 3A and so on). 

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In several states, 1A would distinguish the small educational institutions (in rural areas), while the largest would be 7A (inner city or suburban schools with much larger student bodies). 

Generally, there are limits to the number of members in a particular class (based on enrollment or sometimes by locale). 

While there is no steadfast rule, a larger high school basketball program generally performs at a higher level than a smaller rural school (although that is not always the case). 

The average city or suburban school has access to more kids, more players, and more resources. If you are teaching in a place that has a higher accreditation (6A or 7A), you should expect to be paid more by the district for coaching duties. 

The Experience of the Coach

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Chances are better for high pay if you have a strong track record as a youth sports coach or previous experience as a school basketball coach in a public educational setting. 

Some larger schools search for an experienced coach specifically for the sport and ask them to teach a class on the side (but this is the exception and not the rule in an average school). 

Most high schools simply ask an existing instructor to perform tryouts, coordinate practices and supervise games. Many principals or athletic directors (larger high schools) will look at actual playing experience, so it is always a plus to have more than basic knowledge of the game. 

If the program warrants, assistant high school basketball coaches are usually added on a small stipend or a free-gratis basis.

The Resources of the District

If the school district has a large pool of resources or a strong booster club of parents, then the chances are better that they can afford to pay more in salary. 

While high school athletic rules prohibit coaches from accepting monies from sources outside school-sanctioned salaries, sometimes booster clubs can be beneficial in raising money for programs, equipment, or other items. The result of this involvement is that the school district does not need to undertake

some expenses, relying on the support of fans and parents to defray expenses. 

Maintaining a quality basketball program can be costly, particularly for larger districts (the more significant the school, the more money is required to run the program. Lights, security, and facilities must be maintained and paid for). 

Often, the higher the classification of the school, the larger enrollment it has, which means more time must be devoted to assess skill levels, coordinate multiple practices each week, and help students graduate. 

The Terms of The Contract

While contracts can always be negotiated, many districts stipulate how much the additional stipend will be should an instructor decide to assume coaching responsibilities. 

Cash-strapped districts do this to avoid having to rework contracts every time they ask someone to supervise an athletic program. (Double-check the fine print of your contract to see if there is a clause concerning this area).

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The Leadership Factor

Coaching can be a gratifying experience for everyone involved, student-athlete and coach alike. But it takes more than the ability to assess skill level, run practices, design plays, or plug the best player in the right position.

An instructor must be a great leader, maintain a positive environment, and help athletes learn.  

While everyone wants to win, it is much more essential that athletes continue their education and earn a high school diploma. Since most players do not elevate to college and professional sports after high school, average players will need a high level of proficiency in things other than basketball. 

A good leader/mentor can assist the kids in the program to learn how to face the world once they have earned their high school diploma. Most superintendents want a winning program due to the attention and support success brings, but deep down, they prefer higher graduation rates from their students.

(Expect the hiring manager to inspect your ability to motivate, teach positively, and exhibit great sportsmanship). 

The Importance of a Good Basketball Coach

The high school basketball coach doesn’t just coach basketball practices. They play a vital role in helping prepare student-athletes for life. Since coaching basketball and other sports is so much more than just teaching fundamentals, a basketball coach must be capable of creating a positive team environment at all times. 

The value of a good high school coach cannot be underestimated. Like any young person enrolled in your school, student-athletes need mentoring and guidance. While you need to stress teaching fundamentals, it is essential to effectively speak to young hearts in a positive manner.

Every practice is a teaching opportunity, and just because you coach weekly practices with all the finesse of a John Wooden (UCLA) or Coach K (Duke) doesn’t mean anything if you cannot be an influence to assist an average student who needs guidance more than anything else in life. 

Most high school athletes will remember their days on the court as the highlight of their time in school. 

Team sports can teach sportsmanship, sacrifice, service, goal setting, and teamwork, among many other critical qualities. As a basketball coach, your role is to coach the sport in such a way as to set young minds on the course of life. 

Key Takeaways

  • The salary stipends for coaching public high school basketball range from $1000 to $10,000 per season.
  • Leadership qualities are essential to effective coaching.
  • Generally, the larger the basketball program, the more money the school pays its coaches.

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