Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun was blindsided by a question about his salary during a press conference following a game. Calhoun was confronted by a man named Ken Krayeske, who is some kind of freelance journalist and/or photographer.
Here is an excerpt from the AP story:
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun got into a heated exchange at a postgame news conference Saturday with a freelance journalist and political activist who questioned why the coach of a public university was making $1.6 million in tough economic times.
“Not a dime back,” Calhoun joked as Ken Krayeske asked about Calhoun’s salary and the state’s budget deficit, which is estimated at $944 million for the current fiscal year and up to $8 billion over the next two years.
That was how it started and the fireworks were just getting started. Krayeske continued to press the issue with Calhoun (who I honestly think either thought the guy was joking or that he could diffuse the issue with a little wisecrack back … boy, was he wrong). This guy continued to try and push the buttons of Calhoun, who said, “My best advice to you is, shut up.” As you might expect, Krayeske was not willing to take that little nugget of wisdom from Calhoun, a coach of two NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship teams of Connecticut.
Calhoun added this:
“Quite frankly, we bring in $12 million to the university, nothing to do with state funds,” Calhoun shouted back. “We make $12 million a year for this university. Get some facts and come back and see me. … Don’t throw out salaries and other things.
“Get some facts and come back and see me. We turn over $12 million to the University of Connecticut, which is state-run. Next question.”
I’ll make a couple of points about this whole uncomfortable exchange between the two men. First, Krayeske was out of line, in my opinion, to blindside Calhoun with this kind of out-of-context question (out of context in the sense that after the game you generally question a coach about issues directly related to the game). If a person at a press conference is to ask a coach about issues like this then he/she should work to schedule a sit-down meeting with the individual or a phone interview. To challenge Calhoun in that kind of forum was wrong. This line of questioning leads me to believe that the questioner was trying to gain noteriety for himself and was merely using Calhoun as a prop of sorts. My second point is Calhoun was out of line for acting as if he is some huge benefactor graciously giving $12 million to the the university every year (I would like to see some documentation of that, but that is a seperate issue). The university pays Calhoun, funds his program to go out and get these student-athletes, to travel all over creation, to have uniforms, to have facilities, to have great salaries and so on and so forth. I don’t blame Calhoun for how he reacted to the questioner (actually, I might not have been so nice … and I was a sports writer for newspapers for 12 years), but he should exercise a little humility in trying to show what the basketball program does for the university. He would be wise also to remember what the university and the people of the state do for the basketball program.