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Chuck Landon: Marshall should give reward to Stanton

May. 26, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Shonda Stanton deserves a raise.

There, I said it.

And it needed to be said.

Just look what Marshall's veteran softball coach accomplished.

First, Stanton coached the No. 4 seeded Herd to the Conference USA Tournament championship. That led to MU making its first NCAA Regional softball appearance in school history. Then, Stanton coached the Herd to a 3-1 win over Notre Dame for Marshall's first NCAA Tournament victory in any sport in 35 years.

If all that doesn't merit a pay hike for Stanton, I'm not sure what would.

Maybe she will get a raise. Maybe she won't. Maybe it's already in the works. Maybe it's not.

It's all rather vague because Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick declines comment on the issue.

"I don't discuss coaches' contracts in the media," said Hamrick.

That explains why so many rumors are swirling. The absence of information usually gives rise to speculation. And so it is in Stanton's situation.

There are rumors that she hasn't gotten a raise or contract extension in five years. There are rumors Stanton's salary is in the low $50,000 range and she's miffed because Marshall volleyball coach Mitch Jacobs is making $100,000. There are rumors the Marshall athletic department is balking at buying the softball players rings to commemorate the NCAA win. There are rumors Stanton is considering other coaching opportunities.

Rumors, rumors and more rumors.

Some of them might be true. And some of them definitely are false.

Take Stanton's salary, for example. A visit to the West Virginia State Auditor's website reveals she was paid $61,252 in 2012.

So much for the low $50,000s rumor.

The web site also shows Stanton was paid $60,942.12 in 2011; $59,960.32 in 2010; $59,223.12 in 2009; $55,219.56 in 2008; and $53,626.54 in 2007.

That means she has gotten a raise of some sort every year. Stanton's last raise was the most meager at $309.88. Her previous two raises were $981.80 and $737.20.

What that also means is Stanton hasn't enjoyed a substantial raise since an increase of $4,003.56 in 2009.

So, that does indicate she deserves a significant pay raise.

As for the salaries of other Marshall coaches such as Jacobs, he was paid $76,441.92 in 2012 and ranks as the school's highest-paid coach among the Olympic sports.

Jeff Small, who coaches track and field as well as cross country, is second at $65,664.69. Next are Jeff Waggoner, baseball, $61,340.13; Stanton, $61,252; John Mercer, tennis, $60,804.07; Bob Gray, men's soccer, $59,641.60; Kevin Long, women's soccer, $50,307.12; Meredith Knight Rowsey, women's golf, $45,745.15; Bill Tramel, swimming, $28,129.63; Matt Grobe, men's golf, $27,638.28; and Jim Zagaria, diving, $27,514.08.

Whether or not Stanton receives a raise, Hamrick confirmed she does have an incentive clause in her contract which will earn a $3,500 bonus for reaching the NCAAs.

What Hamrick declined to discuss, however, was if Stanton would get a one-year contract extension for reaching postseason play. That was the case for men's basketball coach Tom Herrion and football coach Doc Holliday after they reached the NIT and the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl respectively.

It seems to me Stanton also deserves a one-year contract extension as well as a healthy pay raise. After all, how many current MU coaches have an NCAA win on their resume?

Only one.

Shonda Stanton.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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