College Football Assistant Coaches Salaries Skyrocket

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 Cha vis, 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.

Dutch Baughman, executive director of the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association, says coordinators’ salaries are rising in a fashion that is without precedent in college athletics. These salaries are reaching “a very much higher level very much more quickly than I’ve seen in other positions,” said Baughman, whose organization has tracked salaries of football coaches, men’s basketball coaches and athletics directors for 15 years.

According to the USA Today, Clemson University’s 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.”