With canceled season, many coaches in Vermont don't get paid

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BENNINGTON — A recent recommendation from the Vermont Superintendents Association has resulted in spring coaches at Mount Anthony Union High School not receiving their coaching stipends.

According to an email sent to all of the Mount Anthony spring coaches, athletic director Ashley Hoyt said that other schools are in the same situation.

"I sincerely appreciate all the work you have put in with your teams with open gyms, budget work and getting ready for the season," Hoyt wrote. "I am confident the time you put into building your programs and developing your teams did not go unnoticed by your players."

Mount Anthony boys tennis coach Trevor Grimshaw said that while the tennis season goes from March to June, he is in contact with the players throughout the year.

"They train at the bubble [Bennington Tennis Center] in the winter, it's the only place they can go," Grimshaw said. "You want to make sure the kids are coming back and you keep up with the kids on social media. You want to maintain those relationships and it's not just when you are coaching during the season."

The spring season would have started on March 16 this year, with pitchers and catchers starting a week before the rest of the sports. Finals would have been the weekend of June 12 and 13.

Mount Anthony has 18 paid coaches, which includes varsity, junior varsity and the middle school. Hoyt didn't give an exact amount of money budgeted for coach salaries, but said it would be somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000.

Grimshaw said that he gets paid $3,000 to coach the tennis team.

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"That's a couple of stimulus payments," said Grimshaw, referring to the $1,200 stimulus payments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. "A lot of us are part-time coaches. Even a college professor who has their course canceled gets a part of [the money] to teach the course."

Many coaches start open gyms around New Year's, giving athletes the chance to practice without the coaches leading it.

Hoyt said that even before the Vermont Principals' Association canceled the spring sports season on April 30, the recommendation of how to handle the payments was already out.

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"The superintendent said [pay] would be prorated," Hoyt said. "If there were going to be a half-season, they would get half-pay. If there were no season, they would get no pay."

Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union Superintendent Jim Culkeen didn't respond to an email on Friday and a voicemail left this week with the VSA and executive director Jeff Francis went unreturned.

The situation is a bit different at Burr and Burton Academy. According to athletic director Dave Miceli, a joint decision between him and the administration resulted in paying half of the coach salaries for the spring season.

"With our situation, we ultimately gave our coaches half," Miceli said. "They deserved compensation for they've already done ... coaching is a year-long task. They are reaching out to our athletes as well to make sure they were in a positive state, especially during this time."

Burr and Burton has 13 paid spring coaches, in sports including baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls tennis, ultimate, track and unified basketball.

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Miceli was hesitant to say how much the coach stipends are; as an independent school, the Burr and Burton school budget isn't a public document.

"We had a lot of discussions and decided that this is what we felt was appropriate and fiscally responsible for us," Miceli said.

BBA girls hockey and baseball coach Ed Lewicki confirmed the half-payment.

"I'm heartbroken we're not having a season, but I'm fortunate to coach at Burr and Burton," Lewicki said. "We've already put work in for our new uniforms and we maintain the contact with our kids, but without a season, it's more than fair to get 50 percent."

Lewicki did not say what his stipend was for baseball, but for hockey, one of the longest seasons — going from the end of November until the beginning of March, the state average is around $7,000.

Only a handful of schools have committed to paying coaches, while many others have followed the recommendation of the VSA.

"We've never dealt with anything like this," Miceli said.


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