State rep looking to put the lid on high school coach bidding wars

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A new bill has been brought to the 2017 Legislative session seeking to create a ceiling on high school coaches’ salaries.

State Representative Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) is the author of the bill. The bill’s synopsis states that it would “limit the total annual compensation paid by a local board of education to a high school athletic coach to 75 percent of the total annual compensation paid to the high school principal.”

When looking further, the bill does state that the rule would not apply to coaches that are also employed as a teacher at the same high school. The bill is aimed in particular at football coaches that have been receiving six-figure contracts in recent years. Hoover’s Josh Niblett leads the way by making $133,000 annually. Thompson’s Mark Freeman (currently making $123,957), Auburn’s Adam Winegarden ($126,702), and Hewitt-Trussville’s Josh Floyd (over $120,000) were at the center of bidding wars just a couple of years ago. Hoover’s rival Spain Park pays their head coach Shawn Raney $119,600 a year.

What’s unclear in the bill is what Ford considers being a teacher. At Hoover, Niblett teaches three weight training classes with two of them dedicated to students not in athletics. Raney teaches two weight-lifting classes for athletes at Spain Park as well as a third unspecified class. Floyd teaches two P.E. classes and an athletic weight-lifting class along with various other duties. Winegarden teaches a P.E. class on top of serving as director of football operations for grades 7-12. Of the five aforementioned, Freeman is the one that does not have specific teaching duties. He helps with two P.E. classes and is the athletic director for the Alabaster City Schools system.