Paging Ken Krayeske, You’re Needed in Austin…

Posted by rtmsf on May 12th, 2011

As the nation’s states, municipalities and university systems continue struggling to shake off the after-effects of a crippling recession that dried up government coffers and has resulted in huge cuts to education and other core social services, well-paid coaches at big-name schools are progressively becoming targets for political posturing and faux-outrage.  The latest coach to take heat for merely doing his job well is Texas’ Rick Barnes, who recently received a $200,000 raise from the university broken into two parts — $75,000 as a standard annual increase written into his contract, and $125,000 to keep his compensation among the top ten highest paid coaches in the country (a provision of his deal with UT).  His total compensation of $2.4M was approved on Wednesday by the UT Board of Regents.

Barnes is Taking Flak That We Feel is Undeserved

While we completely sympathize with higher education systems nearly everywhere in America that are buckling under the dual stresses of spiraling costs and a public generally uninterested in subsidizing those dollars, to place blame on a guy wholly funded by money from non-taxpayer sources is pandering in its worst form.  Check out these quotes from Texas lawmakers on the matter:

  • “I’m a big fan of UT basketball and coach Barnes.  But at a time when everyone up here is fighting to come up with money to pay for education, it was disappointing.” — Sen. Kirk Watson (D)
  • “I think it’s nuts.”  — Sen. Steve Ogden (R)
  • “It’s not appropriate, not at a time when we’re scraping for money for education.”  — Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R)
  • “It is bad timing.  They didn’t ask for my advice.”  — Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D)

We all remember how Connecticut gadfly Ken Krayeske caused a stink a few years ago in querying UConn head coach Jim Calhoun about the particulars of his then-$1.6M salary, causing the crotchety coach to fire back with several increasingly snide remarks.  That was bad enough, but this is different.  Not a dime of Barnes’ salary comes from the Texas general fund, which means the taxpayers of the Longhorn State no more pay his salary than they do that of the Prince of Wales.  Notwithstanding the deep coffers that the Texas athletic department has at its disposal, we’re also quite certain that the university reaps untold more millions as a result of Barnes’ salary (the Calhoun argument).

If Texas legislators are disposed to pick a fight over Barnes’ salary, they might want to consider his overall performance rather than fixating on the raise itself – when you consider that Barnes is a top ten coach in terms of annual salary, you would hope that UT would avoid the late season meltdowns of the last two years and he’d have more than a single Final Four appearance under his belt.  Frankly, at a football school like Texas, he’s done enough to enable job security for as long as he wants to coach there, but it seems as if the lawmakers completely missed the boat in their efforts to tilt at windmills today.

Share this story

Yet Another Reason to Love Political Season: Ken Krayeske

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2010

Remember UConn gadfly and thorn in Jim Calhoun’s rear Ken Krayeske?

Too Bad Krayeske Isn't Running For Governor

Of course you do — he’s the rabble-rouser who two seasons ago had the temerity to question Calhoun about his salary while the country was still in the throes of a once-in-a-generation recession.  Whether you believe he brought up a fair point or was an obnoxious twit, he’s now running for the US House of Representatives as the Green Party candidate for the First District of Connecticut (north central CT including Hartford). Unfortunately, his campaign doesn’t appear to be gaining much traction even in light of the brief brush with national fame he experienced eighteen months ago (perhaps claiming he was never actually a member of a coven or a practitioner of witchcraft may have helped?).  Fivethirtyeight.com’s Nate Silver gives incumbent congressman John Larson (D) a 100% chance of winning back his seat in this district, showing a commanding lead of  23% over his Republican competitor in his aggregation of poll data.  Needless to say, Krayeske does not even merit inclusion in the data, presumably because the good people of Connecticut saw his latest internet ad where he fixates on Jim Calhoun (a Larson supporter) as a manifestation of the evils of capitalism…  enjoy.

Share this story