After looking at the big business that is college athletics by peeling back the curtain on athletic department budgets and the soaring salaries being paid head football coaches we decided to sneak a peek at just how much assistant coaches are paid to see who is getting rich and who in particualr is getting richer.
To compete in the NCCA at the highest levels Universities must be able to attract and keep their coaching staff intact. At Miami's ACC rival Virginia Tech that has been the case. Much like head coach Frank Beamer, Hokie defensive coordinator Bud Foster is a "lifer" which explains why he has been at VT for 18 years. Continuity breeds success and VT has had their fair share.As Miami fans know, one ofthe issues impacting the team's performance has been a high rate of turnover at both the offensive and defensive coordinators as well as other assistant coaching positions. Current offensive coordinator Mark "Miracle" Whipple and defensive coordinator John "U Gotta" Lovett both enter their second year on the job. The good news for Hurricane fans is that it is often during the second year that the most significant performance gains are made on the field
On March 10, the USA Today published an article detailing the rocketing increase in the salaries of college football assistants. Nearly a dozen schools in the NCAA's top competitive division, the Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision, have made deals under which they will be spending at least 38% more on their offensive or defensive coordinator in 2010 than they did in 2009.
This year, at least six assistant football coaches will earn at least $700,000: University of Georgia's Todd Grantham, University of Alabama's Kirby Smart, Louisiana State University's John Chavis, University of South Carolina's Ellis Johnson, University of Texas at Austin's Will Muschamp, and University of Southern California's Monte Kiffin.
In addition, the University of Virginia, Clemson University, the University of Illinois at Champaign and the University of Nebraska each will pay a coordinator at least 50% more in 2010 than it did in 2009.
Coordinators' salaries are rising at an unprecedented rate in college athletics. According to many who track these things, coaches salaries are quickly approaching an unsustainable level.
Darren Rovell at CNBC says that "Two things have happened recently that led to skyrocketing salaries. The first factor was the coach-in-waiting idea. Hoping to establish some sort of continuity, teams with aging coaches have named assistants as future head coaches."
Mack Brown, Head Coach of the Texas Longhorns
"It's already happened at Texas, where at some point in the foreseeable Mack Brown will be replaced by the school's current defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Muschamp got a raise to $900,000 for the "coach—in—waiting" title. At Florida State, Bobby Bowden's coach—in—waiting is also the school's offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher."
The second is someone name Monte Kiffin, but we will get back to that later.
According to the USA Today, at Miami's ACC rival Clemson University, the Tigers board of trustees' compensation committee recently decided to increase the guaranteed compensation for its 10-man football coaching staff by more than 56%, from $2.6 million last season to $4.055 million.
This, despite the fact that Clemson's athletic department reported annual budget deficits in 2008 and 2009, and that all university employees, including those in the athletic department, had to take five furlough days because of state budget cuts.
According to Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips, "We are fast arriving at a point — particularly with our compensation escalating as fast as it has — where in the next several months, depending on ticket sales, what the economy is doing and how the conference is going to fare with the next TV contract (a deal that is being negotiated), we'll have to look within our department to see where we can find savings. If we don't, it won't take too long to erode our good financial base."
OK now quick: Take a guess at the four highest paid assistant coaches in college football in 2009?
If you answered: Monte Kiffin (Tennessee), Will Muschamp (Texas), Ed Orgeron (Tennessee) and Jimbo Fisher (FSU) then you are correct!
By accepting the generosity of his son Lane, Monte raked in a whopping $1.3 million dollars to leave Tampa Bay and join him at the University of Tennessee. The Volunteers' coaching staff earned $5.325 million last season, including $3.325 million in salary for its nine assistant coaches. The latter sum is the highest in the SEC, surpassing the $2.405 million Alabama paid its assistant coaches for the 2008 season by more than $900,000, and is believed to be the highest in college football.After spending one year learning all of the rich traditions at UT, including all of the words to Rocky Top, the dynamic duo of Kiffin & Kiffin left the Volunteers and their fans high and dry (and a little lighter in their pockets) and have sinced moved on to sunny Southern California where apparently the grass, and the money, is even greener.
Which just goes to show that in the big business that is college football money can't buy you love, much less loyalty.
Come on, you know the words, everybody sing along:
Rocky Top, you'll always be,
Home sweet home to me,
Good 'Ol Rocky Top,
Rocky Top Tennessee!