The Way I See It

By Pat Bigold

Tuesday, August 12, 1997

Coaches don’t get paid
enough for their efforts

THEY'LL reach into their pockets and hand a kid money to buy a meal.

They'll line the field before a game and then stay in the locker room well past midnight to wash uniforms and sort gear.

They'll endure heavy stress when the game is in the balance, and receive lots more from alumni and parents if they lose.

They'll spend several hours with their coaching staff to review game videotape and figure out what went wrong.

They'll do their best imitation of Dear Abby when a kid needs advice for the lovelorn.

And, when push comes to shove, they'll let neighborhood drug dealers know they'll have to go through them to get to their kids.

So what do we pay these football coaches in Hawaii? Oh, between 50 cents and one dollar an hour, based upon a 20- to 30-hour work week.

And that's only for the regular season.

It's hard to figure out exactly how far to carry the decimal point when you factor in a coach's service to his kids throughout the entire year.

Not bad. Not a bad deal at all.

And then they seem willing to dig even deeper, and there seems to be no better explanation for it than love.

Farrington's Skippa Diaz has been known to haul kids off to Masu's Massive Plate Lunch for a feed. Former Kahuku head coach Doug Semones would bring his whole squad to Waikiki on occasion to see a movie.

Yet Hawaii's public school coaches are near the bottom of the nation in pay.

There are some who say that if coaches know what they're getting into and they still want the aggravation, then why bother paying the fools anything at all?

If they want to be like clergy, consecrating their lives to the cause of guiding young people, many from broken homes, through their most difficult growing-up years, let them do it for nothing.

But it really can't go on like this.

Many superb coaches who have their own families are finding it necessary to throw in the towel.

Hey, they need better salaries. I mean, just enough so that they can afford to pay for the privilege of coaching.

IN the 18 years I've lived here, I've determined that "arrogant" is the most overused critical term in local vernacular.

Meaning "overbearing pride or self-importance," it is too often slapped on a youngster here who speaks or acts in a self-assertive fashion.

Self-confidence is not arrogance.

Humility is certainly a virtue but not to the point of self-flagellation. And I think that's what some people who have called Dane Sardinha "arrogant" expect of him.

The former Kamehameha catcher, the second-round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals, has suffered criticism lately for standing his ground and insisting that he's worth a $1 million-plus signing bonus. He's willing to bypass the pros and accept his scholarship at Pepperdine if he doesn't get it.

I wish him well. But the fact is that Sardinha was expected to be a first-round pick and some say he was bypassed only because of his high-powered legal advisor, Scott Boras.

To keep his eligibility a bargaining chip, Sardinha can not employ Boras as an agent in negotiations and must negotiate directly with the Royals.

Abject humility will not cut it in this game. How many guys his age would have the forbearance to say no to even a $100,000 bonus? Not many.

So don't call Sardinha arrogant. He's taking a big-time gamble in holding the Royals at bay. It's his life and he's apparently man enough make the ultimate decision in this one.

Pat Bigold has covered sports for daily newspapers
in Hawaii and Massachusetts since 1978.

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