Miami Pays Female Assistant Coaches Less than Male Counterparts


Assistant Field Hockey Coach Rayell Heistand stands in front of Miami’s all-male Cradle of Coaches at Yager Stadium. Photo by Emily Goliver

By Emily Goliver

Female assistant coaches at Miami University make half as much as their male counterparts.

Rayell Heistand is in her fourth season as an assistant field hockey coach for the RedHawks. She said that her current salary of less than $36,000 would make it impossible to start a family.

“I don’t think it’s fair that, as a female assistant coach, I can’t provide for my family, but most male assistant coaches don’t have to worry about that,” Heistand said.

The average salary for a male assistant coach is $76,000 whereas the average salary for a female assistant coach is about $42,000. Miami employs 10 female and 28 male assistant coaches.

The average salary of male coaches in a male sport is brought up by the salaries of assistant coaches on the men’s ice hockey and football teams. The average salary of assistant coaches for the football team is $106,500, while the men’s ice hockey team’s is $109,500.

Without including the assistant coaches for ice hockey and football, the average salary for a male coach is $54,000, about $10,000 more than the average salary for a female.

The highest paid female assistant coach is Ke’Sha Blanton, the assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. Blanton is in her second season coaching the RedHawks. Blanton makes $2,000 less than the second-season male assistant coach for the women’s basketball team, Frank Goldsberry, who makes $75,000.

Basketball, ice hockey and football all generate revenue for the athletic department, so coaches in these sports make more than non-revenue generating sports.  

The salary differential also applies to assistant coaches in both male and female sports. Male coaches of a male sport make twice as much as male coaches of a female sport.

Miami has two sports that allow both male and female participants: Cross country and track and field, and swimming and diving. Of the eight people who coach a combined sport, only one is a woman. The average salary for the male coaches is almost $10,000 more than the salary of the one female.

On average, a male coach of a female sport makes almost $48,000, while a male coach of a male sport makes over $96,000.

Ron Scott, the associate vice president of institutional diversity at Miami, said that the university tries not to deviate too far from average salaries within the Mid-American Conference.  

“Quite frankly, the biggest conversation nationally is getting more women into the coaching field,” Scott said.

Female assistant coaches are paid less around the nation. At Ohio State University, the male assistant field hockey coach makes 1.2 times as much as the female assistant coach. However, she is paid almost 1.5 times as much as Heistand, her counterpart at Miami.  

“It’s impossible to compare different teams and different coaches because different sports have different salary ranges,” Scott said. “The premise that the salaries are different doesn’t tell the whole story.”

Heistand is on yearly contracts and has the opportunity to get a 1 or 2 percent raise every year. Last year, the field hockey team did extremely well, so they were given an extra one percent raise.

Miami coaches are also given a bonus if they win the conference regular season or tournament championship.

Scott said that the university made a conscious effort to equalize discrepancies throughout all departments, including hiring more female coaches, especially for female sports.

Scott said the increase in female coaches is seen as a success in the eyes of the university.

“I think the university works incredibly hard to make sure and to be aware of ranges in equitable pay across the board, for coaches and staff,” Scott said. “We have a way to go in terms of gender issues in this nation, period. What we’ve done at Miami, we’ve worked really hard.”