By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
Cullman High School’s longtime football coach received a 62.5 percent raise as part of the Cullman City School board’s 2013-2014 supplement schedule, which reduced overall supplement spending when compared to last year.
The new schedule raises Mark Britton’s coaching supplement from $12,000-per-year to $19,500-per-year, making him the highest-paid coach in the history of the system. The head football coach supplement had not been increased in several years before this season.
Supplemental stipends for coaches come in addition to regular pay for teaching duties. Pay for other varsity head coach positions remained at previous levels, including $9,702 for basketball, and $8,500 for baseball and softball.
Britton is entering his 13th season at Cullman and is two games shy of breaking the school’s all-time win record held by local legend Oliver Woodard. He’s won 62 games the past six seasons and advanced past the first round of the state playoffs each of the last seven.
School board member Steve Sides said the new supplement was proposed in an effort to move Britton up to a level that was comparable and competitive with similarly successful programs in the state.
“There was a salary study done and from that information we derived from comparable-sized schools in our area and new hires in our area, that would get him on par with current pay for that position,” Sides said. “Besides being an outstanding football coach, he’s a wonderful teacher as well. He’s a 12-month contract employee, and like a whole lot of our other teachers and coaches, he puts in a lot of time. That’s also something that goes with someone who has been there as long as he has.”
Sides went on to note that, when Britton eventually retires, the board would need to have a competitive pay level to attract a high-quality coach to lead the Bearcats in the future.
“Just hypothetically, if he retired tomorrow, what would it cost to get a quality teacher and coach to step in?” he said. “Your pay has to be competitive, and there’s a direct correlation to the competitiveness of a payscale to the quality and experience you can attract.”
When asked about the increase and his lengthy record of winning, Britton thanked the board for supporting the football program and credited his staff and the student-athletes for all their hard work. He also thanked the board for offering competitive assistant coach supplements — $7,820 for coordinators and $6,56 for assistants — to provide continuity within the program.
“As far as the winning, I’ve been blessed to work at a good place. I’ve got a great staff. Football is the one job, maybe not one and only job, but there is absolutely no way you can coach it by yourself,” he said. “Twenty-two spots, there’s no way you can coach it by yourself. I’ve got great men. I’m very thankful for the board for their salaries because their salaries are very competitive and it allows you to have continuity. My guys are staying because our supplements are good. To increase that supplement, they might have to take a quality head coaching job to get a better pay.”
Despite the football increase, the system’s annual athletic supplement schedule decreased from $267,822 last school year to $249,070 for 2013-2014. Most of the $18,752 reduction came from some across-the-board assistant coach supplements that had been paid by the CHS Booster Club last year.
Non-athletic supplements, which include team sponsors for math, Scholar’s Bowl, drama, etc. were unchanged this year. Technology supplements for teacher-tech assistants embedded at each school also received no increases this year.
Times Sports Editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.