From all the fawning reader comments directed at Coach Pat Hill today over his agreement to a reduction in his $1 million annual salary — a decision detailed by Bee sports writer Daniel Lyght in today’s paper — you’d think he donated a kidney to one of his players.
Forget the generosity and altruism. Hill is taking a pay cut because he has to. The Fresno market can’t support a $1 million football coach, plain and simple.
Is my thinking colored by my annoyance with a society in which a select few athletes, investment bankers and pharmaceutical salespeople get filthy rich while teachers and nurses and other common folk (including, yes, artists) scrape by? You bet. I’ve always thought it depressing that Hill could get that much money at Fresno State while many professors scrape by paying off massive student loans. But that’s the way our supply-and-demand economic system works, and it’s what happens when we inexplicably conflate athletic entertainment with our system of higher education. Now that the market is adjusting a football coach’s salary the other direction for a change, I can’t help but be a little pleased. And forgive me if I refrain from declaring Hill a hero. He’s still making plenty of dough.
Bee photo / John Walker