Long Beach State’s athletic program has seen much success recently with the men’s volleyball team after claiming the No. 1 spot in the nation and winning the NCAA Championship. Other teams, like the 2017-2018 men’s and women’s basketball program, have not been so relevant after disappointing seasons.
While talented athletes have come in and out of Long Beach, it’s the head coaches who have propelled their respective programs into the upper echelon of college athletics, mid-major or otherwise.
Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee recently extended the contracts of men’s basketball head coach Dan Monson and men’s volleyball coach Alan Knipe, which poses the question: How much does performance matter in each sport when head coaching contracts are negotiated?
In Monson’s extension he was given a base salary of $283,560, with a supplemental base compensation of $16,440. This is a $75,080 pay cut from his previous contract, largely due to an unsatisfying past few seasons for the men’s basketball team.
On the other hand, newly-crowned national champion Alan Knipe had his contract extended to 2023, just days before the 49ers captured the title over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion May 5. The Daily 49er was unable to attain Knipe’s new contract information by the time of publication.
“Both President Conoley and I think that Alan has done an unbelievable job,” Fee said in a press release April 30. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to keep him here at Long Beach State. I know that he’ll continue to lead our men’s volleyball program to even more success, and most importantly, do so in the right way.”
After examining eight LBSU head coaches’ contracts, our staff compiled information on base salaries as well as bonus incentives. Here is what was found:
Monson is the highest paid coach at Long Beach State by base salary, while beach volleyball head coach Mike Campbell is the lowest paid. Campbell’s beach volleyball team resided in the top 10 of national rankings for the entirety of the 2018 season with a 26-8 record.
As for the men’s volleyball team, Knipe led the 49ers to a 28-1 record and ultimately an NCAA Championship, along with a plethora of other accomplishments. The men’s volleyball team ended its season in the Final Four in the last three seasons under the recent national champion coach.
For softball head coach Kim Sowder, this season the team has been ranked No. 17 in the nation and the highest in the last 10 seasons. Sowder also got the 49ers to six NCAA Regional appearances in her 12 seasons at Long Beach.
Similarly, Baseball head coach Troy Buckley led the Dirtbags to a winning record in every complete season dating to 2011. The Dirtbags have appeared in three NCAA Regional appearances in 2014, 2016 and 2017, including an NCAA Super Regional last season, falling one game short of the College World Series.
Women’s soccer head coach Mauricio Ingrassia led Long Beach to a 9-6-3 and the team’s most recent NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016.
As for basketball, the men’s team under Monson went 15-18 and lost in the first round of the Big West Conference tournament in March.
Additionally, women’s basketball head coach Jeff Cammon’s first season resulted in a 8-23 record, including a 6-10 conference record and a first-round elimination from the Big West tournament.
Gavin Arroyo, head coach of the men’s and women’s water polo teams, coached them to records of 15-12 and 13-14, respectively.
Even though base salaries are where coaches get the bulk of their pay, they have ample opportunity to earn more money through bonuses, which vary for each coach in criteria and amount.
After extending and restructuring Monson’s contract, the question is whether or not Fee will continue to employ the same restructuring approach with other head coaches who are underperforming on the bases of bonus compensation earnings. Because the available bonus are based on accomplishments such as conference championships, coach of the year honors and NCAA appearances, a greater focus on bonuses would seem to have a significant impact on performances of LBSU athletics head coaches as opposed to base salary figures. This approach would seem to serve in the best interests of Long Beach’s athletic program.
Monson, Cammon, Ingrassia and Sowder had a combined $594,500 up for grabs, but were unable to earn any extra cash on top of their base salaries. Knipe took advantage of his available bonuses and earned nearly 75 percent in supplemental compensation at $26,500, thanks mostly in part to $10,000 for bringing the school an NCAA Championship. Buckley earned the second most in bonuses at $21,500 in the Dirtbags’ 2017 season. The only contract with no possible bonuses belongs to Campbell. Campbell’s contract as head coach is currently tied to his assistant coach contract for women’s indoor volleyball, which is part of the reason he is unable to earn any bonuses for performance.
Due to cuts in Monson’s base salary, his new contract is more performance-based, with higher payouts for conference and post-season wins.
This will give Monson a chance to compensate for his decrease in salary through bonuses that can be claimed after conference wins.