Many of the head coaches under the UC Irvine athletic department are offered little job security and are underpaid while their programs are consistently underfunded, according to former UC Irvine women’s soccer Head Coach Marine Cano.
Cano, who coached at UCI for 12 years before resigning at the end of 2005, said that these aforementioned problems are a big reason why many head coaches, himself included, have left UCI during the past five years.
Cano specifically cited the common practice of administration giving head coaches one-year renewal contracts at the end of each season as one of the main problems for coaches at UCI.
‘When a new coach comes in, they usually receive two- to three-year deals, but for many of the coaches who are already hired and in charge of the Olympic-type sports on campus, the coaches are just given one-year renewals almost each year, regardless of how well they do,’ Cano said. ‘It makes for bad morale. Let these coaches breathe a little and let them implement their two- to three-year plan.’
Documents obtained by the New University show that 10 of UCI’s 18 head coaches’ contracts expire at the end of 2007, with six of these expiring on June 30, 2007.
Athletic Director Bob Chichester, who said that ‘Coach Cano’s position and [his] position on a number of things are quite different,’ defended the contracts, stating that the school’s methods of retaining coaches does not differ from those of other schools nor does it prevent current coaches from leaving to fill other open coaching positions.
‘Because our contracts are written in a way in which a coach can walk away from their contract in any year, a multi-year contract with a coach doesn’t lock that coach at UCI,’ Chichester said. ‘So regardless of the number of years in a contract, if [the coaches] get a better offer at another school, they still have the opportunity to leave. Other school’s contract situation may be different or the same as ours. The philosophy that we have had here is that if you do a good job you should not be worried about job security.’
Cano counters this point explaining that a renewal of the expiring contract would not be confirmed until about two or three weeks before the contract expired, making it difficult for coaches to plan for the future in terms of their coaching plans and their personal lives.
In addition, Cano said that because of the financial constraints facing the athletics program and the success many coaches have despite the lack of funding, coaches should be given a two- to three-year contract.
‘If coaches are doing the best job they can, helping their students graduate and keeping a good image, every coach should get a two- to three-year contract no matter what their record is because it is not their fault,’ Cano said. ‘The coaches just aren’t supported financially to the point where you can build a long-term winning program and to have them worry each year if they will be renewed at the end of the year does more harm than good.’
Disputes over contract length and monetary figures were also another reason for Cano’s departure. Cano said that outside of the big programs at UCI, many of the coaches are underpaid while their assistants can hardly afford to make a living given their minimal salaries.
‘When I started in 1993, I made around $45,000. In over 12 years it barely went up to over $50,000. Now with someone who has a family, who could live off that out here? And it wasn’t as if my teams were bad