Christi Posey, the head volleyball coach at Division I UMKC, makes a nice annual salary of $72,114. UMKC thinks highly enough of Posey to have given her a 29 percent raise over her salary of two years ago.
Wichita State University thinks highly of its Division I volleyball coach as well. In 2016 the university paid Coach Chris Lamb $396,449, more than doubling his 2015 salary of $196,326. Although Wichita State’s record of 24-8 was better than UMKC’s 12-12, Posey might ask herself why is this guy at Wichita making 450 percent more than she is.
Kansas taxpayers might want to ask why, in an era of alleged financial free fall, WSU pays its girls’ volleyball coach 300 percent more than the state pays the governor. In Lamb’s case, WSU cannot even make the gender equity argument.
To be fair, Lamb has had a successful seventeen year run at WSU. As of November 2015, his career record at WSU was a respectable 356-146 with five Missouri Valley Conference titles. This is all well and good, but women’s volleyball is not men’s basketball and the Missouri Valley is not the Big 12 or the Big 10 or the SEC.
In 2016, WSU did not make the top 25 rankings in Division I women’s volleyball. During Lamb’s tenure, the team has not made the finals of the NCAA tournament. By all accounts Lamb runs a good program, as well as a popular volleyball camp–operated as an LLC–but his salary makes no sense in an era of educational belt tightening.
in fact, the Division I sports programs at Wichita and elsewhere make no sense save where they turn a reliable profit or attract donors. And those few money-making programs, as the University of Kansas men’s basketball team proved this past year, can come at a high moral cost, compromising the integrity not just of the coaches but of everyone who cheers for the team.