WED APRIL 30, 2014
Spotlight On St. Louis Chess Falls On Webster’s Investment In The Sport
By DONNA KORANDO
The vibrancy of chess in the St. Louis area continues to grow. For example the U.S. Championships return to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis on May 8.
But one of the bright spots – the strength of the university programs here – recently received close scrutiny. While Lindenwood and others are building strong teams, Webster University brought in the chess world’s version of John Calipari or Coach K: Susan Polgar and her team of grandmasters left Texas Tech University for the St. Louis suburbs in 2012.
Polgar has not only coached a team to two collegiate championships in a row, she hosts the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) and has won four women’s world championships. The coach works hard.
The student newspaper at Webster, The Journal, took at look at the cost of bringing in this group first tier competitors. DB asked for but did not get specific numbers for the salaries of Polgar and her husband and fellow chess coach, Paul Truong. But he did uncover a proposal she made to Texas Tech University for salary, 34 scholarships and bonuses that would have totaled more than $1 million.
The Washington Post picked up on DB’s work and compared the chess wars to higher profile college sports. “Are we just starting another version of what’s happened in the football or basketball arena?” asked Richard Vedder, an Ohio University professor and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, in that article.
The Post also talked with Polgar (who evidently did not talk to the Webster student-run paper), and she said she and her husband were making “substantially less” than the offer presented to Texas Tech.
What if they were? How would a $250,000 salary for the head coach stack up with the big names in, say, college basketball? According to USA Today, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski leads the pack with $9,682,032 this year, though that figure does include more than $2 million owed him from the previous year.
And what about the coaches whose teams actually played for the national championship? Kevin Ollie the coach of the winning Connecticut Huskies makes $1,250,000 with the possibility of $209,999 in bonuses, according to USA Today.
Forbes magazine took a look at what the title game meant to Kentucky’s John Calipari.
It reported that the man who has seen a lot of freshmen graduate to the NBA makes a base salary of $5.4 million. Getting to the championship was worth $275,000 in bonuses, but the bonus total would have reached $650,000 if the Wildcats had prevailed.
Full article here.