Highest-Paid Public Employee In Your State Is Probably A Coach

College sports coaches make are the highest paid public employee in four out of five states
College sports coaches make are the highest paid public employee in four out of five states

In recent years, there's been a simmering debate over whether public employees are overpaid. Periodically, there are stories about principals, bureaucrats or janitors who somehow managed to work the system and get obscene pay. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has produced research that shows federal workers are paid 30 to 40 percent more than they would be in the private sector. But other studies have come to the opposite conclusion.

But it took an online sports website, Deadspin.com, to crunch the data to identify which state employee is the highest paid. And surprisingly, in 41 of the 50 states and Washington D.C., the highest paid employee is a college sports coach. At the top end, a handful of coaches at state universities earn more than $5 million a year, according to newspaper reports.

Sports that pay the most: Of the 41 highly paid state university coaches, the majority -- 27 -- coach football. Thirteen are basketball coaches; and there is just one hockey coach. Only one of the 41 coaches works with a women's sports team. The lone exception? University of Connecticut women's basketball coach, Gino Auriemma.

The highest-paid employees in the other 10 states are working in fields that require advanced degrees. They are university presidents and deans of law and medical schools.