It’s only money.

Damon Evans is at peace with the size of Grantham’s contract.

“We went after coaches that were making more than what we were paying before,” Evans said. “We knew that in order to get the individual that we wanted that we were going to need to step up and pay more than we’ve done in the past. We’ll continue to evaluate each individual based on performance, based on market and based on what we think is a fair and competitive wage based upon their performance.”

“I feel confident and comfortable because of the finances of this organization are in such a way that we are able to give a salary like this and in a position to do so to where we don’t put ourselves in a bad situation, that we don’t affect our bottom line so much that it causes problems in other areas ,” Evans said. “We’re positioned well financially. We can manage something like this.”

“As far as assistant coaches go, do I see there being some changes? Yes I do,” Evans said. “Salaries are increasing. You’re seeing multi-year deals across the landscape of college football, but for us, we evaluate each situation on its own merit and do what’s appropriate for that particular situation or that particular individual. I’m not going to rule out that we’ll do another multi-year deal. We’ll just do what we believe is in the best interest of the program.”

Best hang on to your hat, Damon.  Because Mike Hamilton is prepared to double down.

… Two sources said UT was willing offer up to seven-figures annually for the “right” defensive coordinator — but the department wouldn’t complain if the best available candidate to accept the job demanded less money. UT men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton often speaks about the “line-item” business of coaching staffs, and the only price figure restriction is the combined sum.

“I hate to be so cold about it, but I look at this as a line-item, and you’re trying to pay for experience and the coaches that they’d hire and all those kinds of things,” Hamilton said. “The way I look at it is, ‘OK, we’re going to pay the head coach this, and what does the rest of that line-item look like for their assistant coaches?'”

Hamilton, as he said he would, claimed to ask every potential UT head coaching candidates to questions about their collections of assistants: “Who would you bring with you, and what are the dollars necessary to hire the best coaches you can bring to the University of Tennessee?”

“I challenge them,” Hamilton continued. “We now have that model out there to hire the best possible coaches they can hire. In some cases, you might have a head coach that has a higher salary, and the pool would be less for the assistant coaches.”

Dooley’s contract hasn’t been released to the media yet, but his total financial package per year is believed to be in the same range as predecessor Lane Kiffin’s — approximately $2-2.5 million per year.

UT’s assistant football coaches last season made a combined $3,325,000. That was the highest of all public institutions in college football (private schools don’t have released that information, and most don’t).

In other words, even though UT spent like there was no tomorrow on its assistant staff last year and got middling results from a staff that blew apart like the mercenaries most turned out to be, Hamilton is ready to travel down that exact same road again.  That’s not cold, that’s crazy.

… Dooley said his strategy won’t necessarily mirror Kiffin’s though. In other words, Dooley said the best fit for his UT program won’t necessarily be one widely regarded as the nation’s best.

“This whole ‘putting together the best staff in the country’ and all this, well, every staff can’t be a headliner to me to make a good staff,” Dooley said Friday at his introductory press conference. “A staff is a team, and each member of a staff brings strengths, and each member of a staff has things that maybe they don’t do as well. It’s no different than assembling a football team, and so what I’m more concerned with is who wants to be here?”

It sounds like Dooley’s got more sense than his boss.

15 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

15 responses to “It’s only money.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Damon Evans also knew what’s implied through the post. We’re gonna get leapfrogged early and often, so no big deal.

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  2. HVL Dawg

    Dooley is going to get screwed at UT.

    Who was the author of that great quote, “If you date hookers one day you are going to wake up and it will hurt to pee.”?

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    • Hogbody Spradlin

      I prefer the more time tested:

      “When you lie down with dogs you get fleas.”

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    • The other day a, friend of mine compared Coach D. Dooley to Coach D. Felton, in that he was someone with integrity brought in to clean up a huge mess and wade through the potential sanctioned/probationary period and if he turned out to be a great coach… well, super. Otherwise, time would come to move on to a winner.
      I hope DD does slightly better than Fulmer; not enough to be a threat, but just well enough to keep his job.

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  3. JasonC

    Not so fast… if things don’t work out for Dooley as the HC, maybe he can parlay that into a job as the AD. He has some experience and Hamilton is doing his best to screw himself out of a job.

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  4. The Realist

    So, Vince isn’t going to be defensive coordinator? Boy, that’s a relief. I happen to know Willie is available.

    Call me crazy, but $2M a year for someone with Derek Dooley’s credentials is enough to have someone committed, much less dismissed for gross incompetence. How much is Bruce Pearl really worth? Is he that great of a hire?

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    • They seem content with Hamilton. Personally, I’m amazed the guy still draws a paycheck from UT.

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    • Newt

      Realist, I don’t know what Pearl makes, but he’s probably worth every penny of it. That hoops program was as dead as the one Fox took over this year in Athens and he has them in the top 10-20 consistently. They arguably should have been a #1 seed in the tournament a few years ago. What he’s done with that program is as impressive a turnaround job as you’ll find in the country. And unlike their last football coach, he’s remained in Knoxville even with his name coming up for every prominent opening over the last few years.

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    • Russ

      I’ll be surprised if Dooley fails at UT. Given their resources and committment, he’ll have all the tools. Plus, it will be nice to have a little class back in the conference.

      I just want to beat their ass one weekend a year.

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    • Ausdawg85

      Willie at UT would just be awesome twisted karma. Son of a Legend paired with a son of a…gun.

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  5. HVL Dawg

    What kind of interim president would want to jump into the joy of dismissing the AD at a school like UT? Right now he’s got to deal with budgets, faculty, students, state government, facilities and some athletics. If the AD fires Hamilton, unless he drops Pfat Phil into the job, his attention becomes 100% athletics for the next 6 months.

    Having said that I think the smart thing for the president to do is to fire the AD and drop Pfat Phil into the job.

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    • Hogbody Spradlin

      That’s “Phat Phil”. Get it right.

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      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        That would be “Phit Phil” if he lost 40 pounds. But I digress. Kiffin was not the problem at UT. Kiffin was a symptom of the problem. Who let his school’s football team get put in the position of having 5 (or was it 6?) games against teams who had the week off before his team played them while his team had to play a game the previous week in 2008? (Without making a peep about it.) Who hired a sociopath for HC of the football team? Who broke the bank with guaranteed contacts for assistant coaches for the sociopat thereby hamstringing his newest coach? On and on it goes. UT needs to rid itself of this guy and bring back Fulmer as AD. Will that happen? Not a chance. So at UT they get what they deserve. I feel sorry for DD who will undoubtedly get a black eye from his association with the “Trailer Park Nation.”

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      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        That would be “Phit Phil” if he lost 40 pounds. But I digress. Kiffin was not the problem at UT. Kiffin was a symptom of the problem. Who let his school’s football team get put in the position of having 5 (or was it 6?) games against teams who had the week off before his team played them while his team had to play a game the previous week in 2008? (Without making a peep about it.) Who hired a sociopath for HC of the football team? Who broke the bank with guaranteed contacts for assistant coaches for the sociopath thereby hamstringing his newest coach? On and on it goes. UT needs to rid itself of this guy and bring back Fulmer as AD. Will that happen? Not a chance. So at UT they get what they deserve. I feel sorry for DD who will undoubtedly get a black eye from his association with the “Trailer Park Nation.”

        Like