Well Endowed

Recently, a large, well-established college became home to an important nation’s first.

The college is the first at which an athletic coach’s position is endowed.

The announcement about the endowed coach prompted juvenile snickering and adolescent tittering. Funny even among adults, questions were immediately raised about the size of the endowment. Dollars, of course.

Practically, what an endowed position means is that a philanthropist donates a sum of money that is used to pay the salary for the particular position.

Ordinarily, at colleges and universities, endowed positions are associated with academics. Faculty positions receive endowments. Frequently for particular purposes: e.g., an endowed professor in Communication or an endowed professor in Sustainability.

People holding endowed positions obtain them, typically, because of their scholarly achievements and contributions.

To acknowledge the donor’s generosity, endowed positions typically include the donor’s name in their title. The Blah-Blah Endowed Professorship in SomeThingOrOther.

An endowed professorship is different from the college or university’s endowment. But functions similarly: the donor’s gift is untouched and the interest (or earnings) generated by the gift are the capital that supports the position. The professor’s position and, now, the coach’s.

Not only is holding an endowed position prestigious (as much for the holder as for the broader institution), the endowment affords budget relief. Salary money that previously would have come out of an annual operating budget can now be redirected. To support other salaries, for instance. Or, for that matter, the cookies and ice cream budget.

The coach who now holds the endowed coaching position is a winning coach. And, interestingly, previously was also accused of a misdemeanor third-degree assault for slugging a young man at an off-campus, college-unaffiliated, sports event. The victim, then four years out of high school hockey, described the assault as a “sucker punch.”

The coach was on the losing team and the young man on the winning team.

The coach’s penalty for this infraction was a harsh one game suspension from the college’s sports schedule.

The coach later pleaded guilty to the charge of harassment.

Recently, a professional football assistant coach was accused of slugging a minor and threatening to kill the minor’s family if the minor reported the incident to the police. The beef was over a beach chair. The assault charge was later dropped. The assistant coach retains his position, albeit with a six game suspension.

More recently, a NY Jets player who slugged the team’s quarterback was fired (by the Jets) and then hired by the pro football team with the slugger assistant coach.

Lots and lots of qualified candidates for endowed positions.

It is time, I suspect, for that tedious speech. The one, you know, touting the many virtues of sports Including all the valuable lessons imparted by good sportsmanship.

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