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The Murray State News

Opinion: What’s the wage gap at Murray State?

Brock Culp
Women’s head coach Rechelle Turner looks toward the bench in disappointment during the Racers’ game against the Belmont Bruins.

The gender wage gap has been a hot topic for a long time. In college basketball, where more and more women are taking over as coaches, that gap is still noticeable and that remains true at Murray State.

Murray State has seen both the ups and downs of basketball in the University’s second year in the Missouri Valley Conference, though the success came from the program that few expected.

Rechelle Turner, head coach of the women’s basketball team at Murray State, led her team to a 19-10 record overall and a 12-8 record in the MVC, grabbing the six-seed in the MVC tournament.

On the flip side, Steve Prohm, head coach of the men’s basketball team, coached his team to a 12-20 record overall and a 9-11 record in conference play, with the Racer’s season ending in the first round of the MVC tournament.

Turner has a decorated career in her seven years as head coach. In the 2020-21 season, her fourth season as head coach, she led the Racers to its first season above .500 in wins in both overall record and conference play.

The next season, the Racers tied the program record of 22 wins in a season and competed in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Now, in the 2023-24 season, Turner and her team are set to make the Racers’ first run at the NCAA Tournament since the 2007-08 season and the program’s second appearance at March Madness ever.

Prohm’s career has also had a lot of ups at Murray State, including a 104-29 record across his first four seasons as coach from 2011-15. During that time, the Racers made it to the NCAA tournament once in 2012, participated in the NIT twice and the Postseason Tournament once.

After his first stint at Murray State, Prohm left for Iowa State University before returning to the Racers in 2022. He has yet to make it past the second round of the MVC Tournament in his two seasons.

So, with the extended success of Turner at the helm of the women’s side and the lack of success from Prohm on the men’s side, the question becomes: Are they making what they are worth?

People can say things like “the men’s program is more profitable” or “people don’t go to the women’s games.” However, it’s hard to argue against the two teams’ finishes this past season and how great Turner has been as a coach in the program’s second team in a much harder conference.

Here’s what the money looks like: Over four years, from 2022 to 2026, Prohm makes $395,000 per year, plus $125,000 per year from radio and TV appearances.

Turner, after her extension a few years ago, makes $110,000 per year. No radio, no TV, no other sort of pay. Turner is one of just 11 female coaches on campus and the one of two that are head coaches.

According to The Collegian, the average gap nationally between head coaches for men’s teams and head coaches for women’s teams has been shrinking since 2016, with men’s coaches making just under $192k and women’s coaches making around $112k in 2021. Three of Turner’s assistants make $50k or more per year, with three other coaches across campus making between $40k and $50ka year. 

Murray State has earned over $3 million in donations to the athletic department since teh start of 2024, but the budget remains the same for these salaries.

While Turner doesn’t have the question of being fired next to her name, Prohm is on the hot seat heading into the 2024-25 season, as he has put together just one winning season over the last four years.

It’s a conversation that has been happening for years and will probably continue to happen in the coming future. Should women’s coaches earn more due to higher success, or should the men’s programs continue to lead the way in terms of pay? The change seems to be coming, but it could still be years before we see equal pay.


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About the Contributors
Jakob Milani
Jakob Milani, Sports Editor
Jakob Milani is all about sports. He joined the staff of The Murray State News in 2020 as a sports writer, assigned to women's basketball, and by fall 2021 was named Sports Editor. He is a dedicated lover of all things Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears related, and loves to talk about all things sports. He is a co-host of "The Iron Grid" podcast with fellow sports writer Ronan Summers, and only ever watches ESPN in his down time. Aside from sports, Jakob also has a passion for music and baking. His favorite artists include Nirvana, Travis Scott, and Queen. His favorite item to bake is cheesecake.
Brock Culp, Photographer

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  • D

    David PoynorMar 19, 2024 at 11:26 am

    Would be interested in how salaries at MSU compare to salaries at other MVC schools.

  • B

    BGMar 15, 2024 at 1:11 pm

    It would be interesting to see the comparison of each program’s earned funds vs coach salaries. At the very least, they should earn the same percentage of their program’s incoming funds.