Assistant Football Coaching Salaries Escalate

While escalating salaries for head football and basketball coaches get much of the attention, compensation for assistant coaches is also on the meteoric rise. On May 19, USA Today reported the continued escalation of assistant football coaching salaries at major institutions, particularly those which compete in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

At the University of Tennessee, its nine assistant coaches combined will be paid more than $5 million. It’s believed to be the highest-paid staff in college football history. Seven of the 12 teams in the SEC last year had combined salaries of assistants over $2 million. The paper noted that all 12 should be well over that mark in 2010 because of the competition to keep top coaches.

At the University of Florida, its nine assistant football coaches will earn a combined $2.74 million in 2010, not including bonuses for SEC championship games and bowl appearances, which likely would push the total closer to $3 million. According to the paper, in addition to the base salary, each coach receives a $10,000 bonus from the school’s contract with Nike, and there are no buyouts for assistants wishing to leave.

Assistant coaches in the SEC making significant salaries are: defensive coordinator Todd Grantham at the University of Georgia ($750,000); defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson at the University of South Carolina ($700,000); defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox at the University of Tennessee ($600,000); defensive coordinator Teryl Austin at the University of Florida ($440,000); and, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn at the University of Auburn ($500,000).  Malzahn’s salary was an increase from $150,000 last year; Johnson made $350,000 last year.

But, assistant coaches at schools in other conferences are also receiving large compensation packages.  Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) can make close to $1 million a season if he fulfills an agreement that extends four years past 2010. Football coaches Paul Petrino at the University of Illinois-Champaign, John Chavis at Louisiana State University, Kevin Steele at the University of Clemson, and Tyrone Nix at the University of Mississippi are all defensive coordinators and will earn more than $500,000 this season.