Salary Scale

October 5, 2018

Salaries for high school athletic directors can vary depending on many factors, as shown by an Ohio paper's look at the wages paid to those at three local schools.

According to, John Zell, the full-time Athletic Director for Lima schools, earned $88,612.16 per year. He said revenue from sports helps fund the department and pay his salary.

“Our finances are based on ticket sales,” Zell said. When football and boys basketball is doing good, your accounts are doing good. They basically fund the majority of our athletic department, and we also go through fundraisers. We’re lucky to have an outstanding relationship with Kewpee and we do the Kewpee coupons every fall, so that raises a pretty large sum of money."

Brad Rex, Athletic Director at Wapakoneta, is also in a full-time position, and earned $85,514.92  last year. He said athletic directors have many responsibilities.

“The job is very big and it’s gotten bigger over the years with new requirements for not only our students to make sure they have all of their paperwork in, but also our coaches,” Rex said. “The state legislature and the Ohio High School Athletic Association has added certain steps, all of which are good, for our coaches to be certified in different things, but it adds another layer of checks and balances, if you will. We have 23 varsity sports, over 800 events a year from [grades] seven through 12. I don’t know how I would do it if I had to do a lot of other duties in addition to this.”

Terry Schnipke, Athletic Director for Columbus, only made $8,760 last year for his services as an athletic director, but also earned $67,676.31 as a teacher, $5,516.09 as a cross country coach, $2,398.30 as a junior high basketball coach, $955.85 as a senior class advisor and $180 as a tournament event worker, for a total of $85,486.55. He said people are often surprised at how much work he has to do.

“I believe there are one or two who are just athletic directors and don’t teach, but it is rare,” Schnipke said. “That’s one thing community members are often shocked to find out is that I also teach classes or that I’m not an administrator. Athletic directors get that mantra of, ‘You’re an administrator because you do so much administrative work,’ which is true. There’s a lot of administrative work to this job, but I’m not an administrator and I’m not paid as an administrator. It’s just an extracurricular supplemental [salary], the athletic director part.”

Schnipke said that juggling multiple responsibilities can be a challenge, but he has no desire to give up teaching.

“I’ve been asked by other teachers and administrators about the possibility of [being a] full-time AD — not that they’re actually ever going to do it, but just my thoughts on it,” he said. “I went into education because I loved teaching and I love kids, so I still like to teach, and I don’t mind teaching three periods a day. Some days it does get difficult. Some days I think, ‘Man, if I had all day, I could get a lot more work done and it wouldn’t be quite as stressful,’ but at the same time, I feel if I weren’t teaching, I wouldn’t have that connection with our kids.”

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