Here’s a golf item and no, it’s not another Tiger tale.
Tiger famously had his dad to coach him, but a lot of golfers come to the game through a high-school coach. This is a story about one of those coaches.
James Purdham has coached golf for 15 years at Hayfield High School in Fairfax, in addition to serving the school as a security officer. For a yearly stipend of around $2,000, Purdham works as a coach 350 to 400 hours a year, by his estimate.
He’s busiest between June and November, but he’s occupied year-round answering e-mails, phone calls and text messages related to coaching and meeting with college recruiters. He drives players home when their parents are late or unavailable. He is available to his players “around the clock,” even getting texts from players “while eating dinner with his family.”
What does his dedication get him? Not a raise in salary.
Purdham sued the Fairfax County School Board seeking overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, but a district court turned away his claim on Dec. 9.
Alexandria U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady said in Purdham v. Fairfax County School Board that only a volunteer would put in that kind of time for such a “nominal” fee. Heavily employed though he was, he was not an “employee” covered under the FLSA.
By Deborah Elkins