A Raise in a Recession?

Contributed by Flynn Bowie

USC Baseball Coach Ray Tanner’s contract is about to be renegotiated, and he is expected to ask for a raise. As an employee of a State-owned university, Tanner’s pay structure is public and open to scrutiny, and in these current economic times it is prudent to discuss the merits of granting a raise to an athletic coach when so many other state employees are experiencing layoffs, furloughs, and severe financial cutbacks.  Tanner currently earns just under $500,000 in salary and bonuses from the Gamecock’s bat supplier. His salary is on-par with other baseball coaches in the country.

I say give the man whatever he wants. Period. End of discussion. But in case anyone wants to argue the merits of holding on to Ray Tanner, let’s review his record of success at USC. In thirteen seasons as the Head Baseball Coach, Tanner has led the Gamecocks to 11 post-season NCAA tournaments. He has reached the College World Series four times, and two weeks ago the Gamecocks delivered that magical moment in Omaha and came back to Columbia as National Champions. He has done this without the ability to offer full scholarships to recruits and with the ever-present threat of the major-league draft stealing away his best talent with the lure of big money.

Ray and his wife, Karen, live in a modest house in Columbia, and can frequently be found shopping at Target with his kids. Six years ago he and Karen founded the Ray Tanner Foundation to support seriously ill children and their families. They are normal people without giant egos, good citizens, outstanding ambassadors for South Carolina, and perfect role-models. It’s quite evident that he loves and respects his players, and they love and respect him. That respect is also evident in the community and on the national baseball scene. When Ray Tanner voices his opinion, people listen.

Ray Tanner has a consistent record of success both on and off the baseball field. The National Championship has lifted the spirits of the City of Columbia and the State of South Carolina. After so many “Fails” in the national spotlight, Tanner has given us – South Carolina —  a much needed “Win.” We need to give him whatever he wants. He has earned it.

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