Let’s get a win, Colby

College sports is an absolutely massive multi-billion dollar industry. In 39 of the 50 states, the highest paid public employee is a coach of some sort. According to the Seattle Times, my home state of Washington pays Chris Peterson, the University of Washington head football coach, four million dollars a year. This gives him the highest government salary in the state. Coaches and assistants across Division I programs make more than a decent living yet their colleges are still swimming in money. How is that? Well, the athletes on television each week making their universities millions don’t see a dime because of the NCAA. But that’s a different opinion piece. Either way, coaches at large universities with big media coverage can put food on the table. In fact, they can put prime cut steaks on their mahogany dinner table.

Contrary to these large universities, Colby gets little to no media coverage on even a regional scale because it’s a small school in the middle of nowhere.  The sports section of The Echo is pushed to the back of the paper, live streams of important games rarely get clicked on, and athletes really don’t get much special treatment (although they sure wish they were treated special).  But is there really anything for viewers to want to look at?  There are a few bright spots for Colby athletics year after year, but our sports aren’t anything special on the whole.  Since the turn of the millennium, Mules have yet to raise a NESCAC championship in basketball, ice hockey, cross country, field hockey, soccer, swimming and diving, squash, golf, baseball, tennis, track and field, or softball. Football shared a title in 2000, but that’s it for them.  Women’s Lacrosse has won the league twice recently.  Nice.  Athletics are simply abysmal here, but, dear reader, have no fear because it’s time for change!  David A. Greene has discussed how much he wants to improve sports here on numerous occasions, and the new Baseball/Softball facility being used for the first time this month is a nice step towards improvement.

But maybe the problem isn’t facilities.  Although it’s annoying for me to wait for a treadmill every day, I feel like our small gym is not the entire cause of our poor athletic performances.  If fantastic athletes were here, they would play fantastically despite our tiny gym and bring my section a championship.  But our current athletes are not enough to overpower NESCAC powerhouses such as Williams, Trinity, and Amherst.  Who brings in their athletes that kick our ass every year?  Their coaches.  Those coaches must make a ton of money, right?  Wrong.

According to an article by Fred Thys, college coaches at liberal arts institutions like Colby struggle with pay.  While coaches for higher profile sports pull in money, plenty of coaches at smaller sports and, especially, assistant coaches just scrape by.  In the article, Thys mentions an assistant rowing coach at Williams that worked full time for his team yet had to get by with “sharing an apartment his first year.”  Williams has eight Men’s and nine Women’s rowing championships since 2002.  Colby has just one championship on the Women’s side in the same time span.

College coaches, contrary to popular belief, don’t just work when their players are under their supervision during practices and games.  Even at small schools like Colby, they spend hours calling recruits, traveling for their team, and building personal relationships with their players.  Williams has a 2.344 billion dollar endowment yet can only pay a full-time assistant coach on a successful team 18 grand a year.  Colby’s endowment does not eclipse one billion, so how’s our assistant rowing coach on a less successful team getting by?

But our endowment is still huge.  In fact, it’s much larger than Bates’, a fact we at The Echo never get bored of.  Students also pay an absurd amount of money to attend our college on Mayflower Hill, and that price seems to mysteriously rise every year.  So, how do we spend that money?  According to the 2014-15 Financial Report, 12.2 percent of our expenditures go towards “student services such as admissions, student affairs, athletics, and health services.”  So, I’m not sure how much Colby actually spends on athletics, but I do know that Dartmouth College spends half a percent of their money on athletics, and they are in a division I league and have a multi-billion dollar endowment. 

Colby College couldn’t possibly be spending that much money on athletics, because we don’t win.  Hopefully, this changes soon.  I love that we’re spending money on our athletic center to house our athletes, but now I want great coaches to find athletes and bring us success.  I’m sick of losing and writing headlines like “Colby performs admirably but loses.”  David A. Greene claims to be sick of this too, so he should spend some of our massive endowment on some coaches to find some winning athletes.  If Williams can pay their crew coach a part-time salary and still win all the time, Colby can spend some more money on athletics, pay our coaches, and get us at least a couple victories in the twenty sports listed above.    

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