Decatur High baseball loses Burns
Supplemental salary structure upsets longtime Red Raiders’ head coach
By Josh Cooper
Former Decatur High baseball coach Mike Burns said his decision to get into coaching wasn’t about money, but it played a role in his resigning.
Burns has served as the Red Raiders’ head baseball coach since 1998, but on Monday, the Decatur City Board of Education accepted his resignation.
Burns said that the Decatur High varsity baseball coach is not being compensated fairly as part of the Decatur City Schools annual salary structure.
“I carried a grudge on my shoulder, and it got heavy,” Burns said. “I didn’t get into coaching it for the money and I’m not leaving for money. I’m leaving because of the embarrassment towards the program.”
According to the 2007-08 salary structure, Decatur High’s varsity baseball coach will receive supplemental income similar to the varsity volleyball, golf, soccer and softball coaches. All of those coaches will receive $1,953 plus 10 extra days of base salary. Burns said that equals $4,600 for him.
Under this structure, however, the assistant cheerleading sponsor receives $2,103 plus 10 days, assistant boys and girls basketball coaches receive $2,103 plus 20 days, and the head junior varsity football coach receives $2,103 plus 10 days.
The head varsity football coach will receive $5,632 plus 60 days, while the boys and girls varsity head basketball coaches will receive $5,632 plus 40 days.
According to Burns, his dissatisfaction goes back to Aug. 20, 2006, when he read a story about supplements in The Daily. The article detailed coaching supplements at Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone county schools. Burns says that before then, he always thought he was being compensated equally to other head coaches.
“When the article came out was when I realized how far behind I was.” Burns said.
Decatur Schools Superintendent Sam Houston would not respond directly to Burns’ claims, but said that the baseball supplement was increased this season to compensate seven extra games during the summer.
“Coach Burns made his decision based on what is best for himself and for his family,” Houston said. “We wish him well.”
Burns will continue his duties teaching physical education at Oak Park Middle School where he is also an assistant football coach.
Burns is a former baseball player at CalhounCommunity College and North Alabama. He played in the Houston Astros minor league organization during 1991-93.
He then returned to school and earned his master’s degree at UNA.
He coached baseball for two years at Calhoun before taking the Decatur High baseball job in 1998.
His 2000 and 2005 teams advanced to the second round of the Class 6A state baseball playoffs. The Daily named him its 4A-6A coach of the year in 2005.
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