Olsen and Paterno Keep Coaching Despite Age or Money

Todd ParmeleeSenior Analyst IMarch 11, 2008

Lute Olsen took the 2007-2008 season off because he said he had an undisclosed medical condition, which was not life threatening, and may not have been a medical condition but a marital condition.

During his absence from Arizona, Olsen indeed filed for divorce from his wife of four years. 

At age 73, I am sure divorce affects someone’s medical condition, but I would argue that at Olsen’s age, divorce probably is a life threatening condition.

I am sure many Arizona Wildcat fans probably thought this was the end of Olsen’s career. 

Olsen, though, said he will be back for the 2008-2009 season.  Olsen currently has a contract that runs through the 2011 season.

This is good news for Arizona fans because Olsen has led the school to 23 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and twenty straight twenty win seasons. 

Ironically, both of these streaks are currently in jeopardy as Arizona is just 18-13 heading into the Pac-10 Tournament. 

Not bad considering Olsen's base salary in 2007 was $714,567 (according to USA Today). 

Twenty-seven Division I basketball coaches make more money then Olson, in terms of base salary.   

While thinking about how Lute Olsen should just retire, I started thinking about Joe Paterno. 

Paterno is 81 years old and has been coaching Penn State since 1966.

According to USA Today, Paterno’s salary for 2007 was $512,664 (no outside income was reported). That amount is peanuts these days. 

As a matter of fact, 34 coaches made more than Joe Paterno made last year.   Ted Roof made more money than Paterno.  

Ted Roof?  Roof is the former head football coach of Duke from 2003-2007.  Roof made $544,286 during a one-win campaign in 2007.

Yes, this is Ted Roof, who compiled 6 wins and 45 losses during his head coaching career, before he went to Minnesota to become the defensive coordinator. 

Roof will be working for Tim Brewster, who made $600,000 in 2007.  Brewster’s team compiled a 1-11 record.  The lone Minnesota win was over Miami of Ohio, 41-35 in triple overtime.

Brewster and Roof both made more than coaching legend Joe Paterno who has compiled 373 wins during his Hall of Fame career and only 123 losses.  

At the same rate of losing, Roof would have had more than 123 losses by 2015 had he continued coaching at Duke.

Although I am not sure what Paterno made outside of his salary, I am pretty sure he deserves more. 

Then again, when Paterno became coach of Penn State in 1966 he probably never even envisioned making more then $50,000.  

I  doubt greed has little to do with the reasons why Paterno and Olsen keep on coaching.