Data Tracker

July 15, 2014

Top UC coaches earn twice as much money as top UC brain surgeons

Coaching college football or basketball at a major University of California campus isn't brain surgery; it's much more lucrative.

The 15 highest-paid University of California athletic coaches made about $18 million last year, up roughly 50 percent from the prior year. About $14 million of that went to six football and basketball coaches, none of whom coached their teams to a top 10 NCAA ranking in 2013.

By contrast, the 15 highest-paid brain surgeons at the University of California at San Francisco earned $9 million last year. U.S. News and World Report this week ranked UCSF's neurosurgery department as the best in California and the fifth-best in the nation, noting that other neurosurgeons frequently named it "among the best for very challenging patients."

Here's the details on the five highest-paid coaches and the five highest-paid UCSF neurosurgeons:

Steve Alford
Steve Alford: $2.63 million | Basketball coach for UCLA. Took team to Sweet Sixteen of NCAA tournament during 2014 season. Team ranked 15th in final AP poll.
Michael McDermott: $907,000 | Co-director of the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Program at UCSF Medical Center. "A real life super hero"
Jeff Tedford: $2.44 million | Former football coach for UC Berkeley. Early success but fired in 2012 after poor season. Due to lingering, long-term contract, officials effectively paid Tedford not to coach UC Berkeley in 2013.
Michael Lawton: $842,000 | Chief of the busiest vascular neurosurgery service on the West Coast. "It would be a lot easier to recognize (him) if (he) just wore the red cape and the blue shirt with the 'S' on it."
Jim Mora: $2.41 million | UCLA football coach. Coached team to 10-3 record last year. Major media outlets predicting even better season this year.
Mitchel Berger: $809,000 | Professor and Chairman of the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery. ""He's my hero. How do you say thank you for what he did?"
Daniel Dykes: $2.37 million | UC Berkeley football coach. Team went 1-11 during first season. Dykes is first ever Cal head coach to not defeat a D-1 opponent in a full season.
Christopher Ames: $770,000 | Director of spinal tumor and spinal deformity surgery at UCSF. ""The first thing I noticed after my surgery was that my skin no longer hurt for the first time in more than a year."
Benjamin Howland: $2.31 million | Former UCLA men's basketball coach. Took team to Final Four in 2008 but was fired in early 2013 after mediocre season and controversy over handling of players.
Praveen Mummaneni: $708,000 | Co-director of the UCSF Spine Center. "The operation ... is so rare UCSF is only one of three hospitals in the nation to have performed it. Mummaneni learned the approach."

Sources: University of California; UCSF; U.S. News & World Report
UC coaches for major sports are mostly paid from the proceeds of ticket sales and from booster donations. UC brain surgeons are mostly paid from the proceeds of the services they provide.

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