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Monday, March 9, 2009

MHS Gymnastics Coach: $5064. MHS Debate Coach: $5127

As Madison High School celebrates the astounding, unparalleled achievement of its gymnastics team's 15th straight State championship, I find myself wondering: how much is a good coach worth? Perhaps the Madison Central School Board will wonder the same thing as it takes up contract negotiations at Monday night's meeting.

An oddity of the Madison Central salary structure: Madison pays its nationally recognized gymnastics coach less than its debate coach. The numbers:

MHS Gymnastics MHS Debate
Head Coach Pay $5064 $5127
Asst. Coach Pay $5028 $2439
Practice Schedule every school day(?), Nov–Feb (~50–60 sessions?) Mondays, one hour after school, Oct–Apr (~25 sessions?)
2008–2009 Contest Schedule 15 contests total—10 travel days, 6 home contests 11 contests total—13 travel days (coach and asst. coach occasionally alternate), 2 days for home contest.
Events Coached 4 (out of 4 available in SDHSAA gymnastics) 1 (out of 9 available during debate season and 6 offered at State Debate Tournament)
Major Achievement
This Year
15th straight state championship reducing workload by ending Madison High School's long-standing status as host of the Karl E. Mundt Debate Tournament, Bulldog Debate's only home contest.

Those numbers (most taken directly from the Madison Central website) are all open to interpretation and clarification. However, even this devoté of debate can recognize that Madison Central's gymnastics coach deserves a substantial raise. At the very least, cost savings from eliminating the Mundt Tournament should be transferred to the gymnastics column of the budget, in recognition of the gymnastics program's sustained effort and success.


  1. I still cannot believe they canceled their support of the Mundt Tournament.

    Regardless there is nothing here that implores us to keep extra circular activities in school - they should all be in clubs.

    The gymnastics trend also drives a stake in the capitalist zombies' idea that excellence will only respond to an outsize profit bribe.

  2. Anon 1:26...Is the legislature going to ban whatever you may be smoking? It amazes me how you can constantly turn any subject into a potential ban on extra curicullar activities.

    Coaching has taken a little jump from the days when they earned $3000 a season, but for all the parental grief, why not make it worth while.

    Excellence with ethics should be promoted both in the classroom and in activities, because that is what is expected in the real world once they graduate.

  3. Maybe the debaters should have carried a basketball or football with them during their debates. Maybe it would still be sponsored!

  4. Thank you for saying what needs to be said - what has happened to the MHS debate team is deplorable and I cannot believe the school board stands idly by as the "coach" of the Madison debate team allows the program to nose-dive.

  5. Good article Corey...the biggest problem is the coach. If you have a coach that doesn't care, that doesn't have the passion to do it, they need to go! I think the debate coach, if they do their job, should get paid just as much if not more...but seriously, the little amount of work that the current head coach has put in is deplorable!

  6. Hey, If Cory says the gymnastics coach needs a raise, it must be so. Don't argue.

  7. Corey when are you going to tell us about your meeting with Dr. Knowlton? Isn't part of the debate going to still be held at the school?

  8. Nothing is certain yet. The high school may be available for some of the rounds, but as far as I can tell, the debate coach and high school administration will have no involvement in organizing or running the tournament. If that's the case, the high school will also not be hiring a tournament director or tab room assistants, thus saving money that can go toward other programs.

  9. What other programs, Cory? Basketball, volleyball, football, track, cheerleading, baseball, golf, tennis??? Take your pick.

    I think the high school should hire you back, Cory. I might not agree with you politically, but that's a separate issue from this.

    I thnk you were a great debate coach because you care, about the kids and the tourney and the school. And evidently that has been lacking.

    The school administration and board need to realize that the skills learned in debate most likely translate the skills learned there into job related skills in the future. I still think the idea of debaters holding a ball, any sports ball, during debates and passing it back and forth among debaters maybe would elevate this to a sport and thus be willingly funded and honored!

  10. Hire me back? I appreciate the thought, Anon 3:56. I appreciate even more your recognition that our political disagreements can be separate from other issues. Maybe you can help me start a private debate academy. :-) (Of course, the first Anon would love to see private academies for all activities!)

  11. This article leads to the revision/ update of an old saying: "Those who blog don't matter, and those who matter don't blog."

  12. [Mattered enough for you to comment. Thanks for reading! :-) ]

  13. Doesn't Dr. Knowlton have a blog? Didn't John McCain? By far I learn more about our community from this blog than the Madison Daily Leader, which in too many cases is afraid to be objective and insult the powers that be. Maybe because Jon is a part of it. How useful is the Chamber newsletter? It's all too feel-good and not enough real information or probing questions. Better to pretend everything is just wonderful as it is in Madison. Keep questioning.

  14. Always happy to ask questions, Anon. but the real question: will the school board do anything about it?

    [And yes, actually, Dr. Knowlton does have a blog.]


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