Nice money if you can get it.

I wrote this back in 2009 after the Laner talked Mike Hamilton into throwing large sums of cash at assistant coaches:

On the other hand, spending wads of cash to hire assistants makes perfect sense from the head coach’s standpoint.  It’s the southern-fried football version of George Steinbrenner’s method of running a sports operation.  Relatively speaking, you’ve got more money than you know what to do with.  Unlike George, you can’t spend the moolah on the players, so you spend it on the next closest thing.   Will it work?  I dunno – when’s the last time the Yankees won the World Series?

How prescient was that?  Pretty damned so, if you ask me.

Clemson’s assistants — at a combined total of more than $4.2 million, including outside income — are the highest-paid group among the 102 public schools for which USA TODAY Sports could obtain 2012 pay information for at least eight of the nine assistants generally allowed by NCAA rules. There are 124 FBS schools.

LSU’s assistants also are collecting more than $4 million. Seven other schools have assistants totaling more than $3 million in compensation: Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Florida State and Oklahoma State.

Last year, six schools had $3 million assistant-coaching staffs. In 2009, there was one: Tennessee’s, at $3.3 million.

And just imagine where this is going as the new TV moneys trickle through the system.  Right now, Clemson’s offensive coordinator is making more than half of the FBS head coaches this season, and more than 41 entire assistant-coaching staffs.  That’s a trend on the upswing.

What’s the over/under on Bobo’s raise?


UPDATE:  John Pennington breaks down the numbers for the SEC coaching staffs here.  On a cost per win basis, Georgia was efficient.  Florida was even more so, proving, I guess, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.



Filed under It's Just Bidness

26 responses to “Nice money if you can get it.

  1. The same analogy that I made between the NBA and head coach salaries apply here…except paying up for top assistants is even dumber because there is almost no disruption to the reputation of the program from changing assistants in the eyes of the public, media, and recruits. Despite the fact that a coordinator may come in and overhaul a scheme and approach to practice, the culture of the program is set by the head coach, and that does not really change either.

    Thus, there are a handful of questions I would ask as a head coach/AD before i determined how much to pay my assistants

    1)Does he want to be here because he is committed to this program? Is this the job and program that he wants to be at and does he believe that this is the best place for him to leverage his talents?

    2)At the price that he is asking, can I find someone to do the job cheaper? Does he posesses a real unique skill that can not be replaced? If not, am i going to quench this guy’s “fire” by paying him?

    3)What message do I send to the rest of the staff by paying him or not? Do i send the message that if they work hard, they can get rewarded here? Do i send the message that its a great career opportunity to work at UGA and that if money is the object, they should cash in elsewhere?

    4)Can I structure an incentive laden contract such that the entire staff is deeply enriched in years we win big, but are far more modest in lean years?

    ultimately, this is the same thing as any other organization. Coaches are seeking the combination of professional environment and compensation that meets their needs. We have absolutely no reason to up Bobo simply to match clemson. why is the compensation of clemson’s staff correct and our’s wrong?


    • You’re taking a rational approach. Unfortunately, the market for college assistants isn’t rational. It’s not a question of Georgia matching Clemson as to Bobo’s salary. It’s the message you send to other coaching candidates that you’re not going to follow the market. As long as other major programs will, you’re going to have a harder time attracting the candidates you want.


      • to paraphrase jack nicholson…is there any other kind of approach? I don’t really care if Clemson or any other school wants to overpay for their assistants.

        Personally, I would be thrilled if the message that AD GM sent out was that UGA is NOT NECESSARILY going to be the place to get paid. I want to send the message that being an assistant at UGA is a chance to get noticed while not being worn to the nub by a head coach that treats them horribly. being an asst coach at UGA is one of the 10-15 “best” assistant coaching jobs in college football from a career advancement standpoint.

        Let’s assume for a moment that there are lots of guys who are perfectly content to coach at all levels of the college football world for reasons other than professional ambition (i.e., lifestyle, type of kids, etc.). That said, for those that are interested in competing for the best players in the highest quality league in America from one of the best platforms to do so, UGA has to rank up pretty high.

        I think Bobo has done a great job this year. that said, the market for offensive coordinators is wide and inefficient. i am not above giving him a HUGE bonus for 2012 for our production, but why should we make that his base package.

        UGA should evaluate each asst on a case by case basis. If we can save $1M annually by not paying up Stacy Searles and Rodney Garner and hiring will friend and some other up and coming DL coach who could be more productive we should find a place where the return on that $1M is higher.


        • You lost that battle the minute Georgia agreed to give Grantham a multi-year contract.

          As for “I want to send the message that being an assistant at UGA is a chance to get noticed while not being worn to the nub by a head coach that treats them horribly. being an asst coach at UGA is one of the 10-15 “best” assistant coaching jobs in college football from a career advancement standpoint.”, there are plenty of other schools making the same pitch and offering more money. If you want a guy, that’s the reality you have to deal with.

          And I’m curious – what exactly are you saving the money for? Georgia’s the third- most profitable program in the country, largely because it keeps expenses down. Seems like BM is already doing a pretty good job on that side of the ledger. In fact, some would say too good.


          • I am well aware that we could rightly be blamed for the trend when we paid re: paying Grantham what we did. I would also argue that giving him a three year extension can certainly be viewed as a risk regarding his complacency. What one has to gauge when handing out a multi-year contract is, “is this is end goal or is the money simply him demanding his wage for now, but he has LARGER goals such that guaranteeing him 3 years at a high salary won’t satisfy?”

            My guess is that Grantham wants to be either an NFL DC, an major college HC, or a pro HC. That said, it seems like he is smart enough to recognize the value of his seat and wait for the right opportunity (just as Richt did, Stoopes did, and Kirby appears to be doing). i have no idea if he has a buyout OR a real enforceable non-compete. the point being I think the contract represented each parties desire to limit risk. Grantham wanted some degree of financial security, and UGA wanted to know he was not going to shop around. the real question goes back to my earlier points. does he want to be here? is he complacent?

            Senator, i get that the other 10-15 schools CAN make the same pitch and some do WHILE offering the money, but i would argue a few things:

            1)they are not all offering the same pitch. many (dare i say most) are playing the same b.s. game of cronyism or recycling mediocre coaches.

            2)there are well MORE than 10-15 qualified guys for these roles, and quite frankly, in the information age, its not really that hard to identify them. yes, there is risk with any new hire, but there is risk of complacency with any salary bump because a guy was lucky enough to have a couple all conference guys at his position group. It is the AD and Head coach’s job to can make that distinction and make sure the guy fills the role and “fits” within what they are trying to accomplish

            3)So we should throw money at assistant just because we can? not to sound all high and might, but there a LOT of things that can be funded with that money. Perhaps the school offers financial aid for a really unique student who can’t afford the tuition. Perhaps the school pays a professor who is doing ground breaking research. Perhaps the school chooses to put the money away for a “rainy day”. simply turning a profit is never a reason to squander capital. ultimately, the goal of compensation is to attract, reward, and motivate our employees. the notion that this is somehow a “seller’s” market for Asst coaching services is flatly absurd.


            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              Don’t you think the statement “being an asst coach at UGA is one of the 10-15 best assistant coaching jobs in college football from a career advancement standpoint” is a little much? How many assistants from UGA during the 12 year CMR administration have “advanced” and where have they gone? Callaway got the HC gig at UAB and then got fired. Ole Pornstache got the gig as HC at Georgia Southern and quit/got runnoft after 1 year. Several others (CWM, for example) got axed at UGA and have bounced around different programs ever since. I just don’t see the factual back-up for that statement.


              • you have to think about this in two parts. when richt arrived, going to work at UGA was NOT NECESSARILY a destination or launching pad because no one had any clue if Mark Richt was a good coach. by 2005, it had become a decent destination. Kirby chose to be a RB coach because he would rather be at UGA than in the NFL. in 2007, Searels, who was well respected at the time, chose to leave LSU for UGA.

                Further, it says more about the guys who have occupied those seats. Go through position by position and ask which guys fit the profile of “up and comer”

                tony pierce – who had alcohol problems
                rucker – who left to have his pension vest as a state employee of texas
                then kirby
                then ball
                then mcclendon

                QB- bobo
                WR – eason


                Van Gorder



                If you look at that list, how many of those guys seem like “up and comers’?

                Van Gorder left for GSU because he was done with Garner. He hated him and gave Richt an ultimatum. At the time, Richt chose Garner. I don’t know if he did so because of Garner’s importance to us on the recruiting trail OR he figured Van Gorder was going to leave in time anyway so firing Garner was only going to buy a year or two of Van Gorder’s time. I do know has been able to leverage his 4 years of success into SEVERAL other positions. He was hired by two NFL organizations and two upper tier SEC programs. Call me crazy, but he got that opportunity because Richt plucked him out of Central Michigan and gave him a shot.

                Belin went from Vandy to UGA to the NFL. Now I have no idea how much his one year at UGA factored in to the situation, but i know our LB fundamentals improved from the first game on compared to Jancek.

                Calloway had a DUI on his record, hated to recruit, and had “run his course” in Athens. While it was certainly “chicken/egg” in terms of the talent , it was clear by 2006 that our OL play had stagnated under Calloway. We were facing a massive rebuilding job due to the mismanagement of numbers along the OL, and it was time for change. So he took one of the worst jobs in america.

                Martinez would have been a “hot” commodity in 2005 to be a DC based upon his work under van gorder. by virtue of BVG’s, WM did not have to leave to get that promotion.

                We have no idea if Bobo might have left to be an OC somewhere else had Richt not given him the job at the end of 2006. He got his promotion. the reason he has not gotten much head coach love is a reflection of the issues with the program from 2008-2010. further, he is not a “scheme” guy that brings with him knowledge of either of the two spread trees. On the other hand, if a team wanted a “ground and pound” guy, he has not presided over teams that have done that either. He is a smart offensive mind who deploys balanced offenses that rely on the combination of a power running game, play action pass, and vertical passing game to succeed. He has also demonstrated an ability to be a great play caller when his running game is working such that his team can get into a groove and get big play after big play. He has also show an inability to manage around running game or QB struggles to get a timely first down such that he understands the importance of getting his defense a breather or a bigger field position cushion. that said, I think we all agree that his is NOT the conventional resume that would have attracted suitors.

                make no mistake….UGA is a fantastic launching pad. that said, it is also a great destination, as the career position coach might find the conditions quite attractive (good talent base, good head coach, etc.)

                my point is all these things need to be considered when paying these guys.


  2. Just a shot in the dark, but I’ll say a bump to $625K for Bobo. Based on what some of the other O-Coordinators are being paid, and how the offense has performed this year, I think he deserves to be in the $600K – $700K range.


  3. Lrgk9

    Bobo needs to take Gurley and Marshall to dinner…


  4. sniffer

    There is no doubt in my mind that Bobo is deserving of a pay raise that has him at the level of other top assistants. He’s proven, to me, that he’s worth the money. Show him what he means to the program.

    Continuity has been a strength at Georgia. I’m hoping McGarity doesn’t drag this thing out, but history indicates that he will.


  5. Ginny

    While we’re giving Bobo a raise, can we do the same for Will Friend? Friend did a remarkable job this year all things considered. Dare I say o-line might be a strength next year?


    • Cousin Eddie

      I was not impressed with the initial hire of Coach Freind but that has been one of the best Offensive hires that Richt has made, lately anyway.

      Hope Friend gets his too.


    • Cojones

      Bobo did more than his part last year and was snubbed in order that a raise for Grantham seemed more important. All of the fan’s love was spilled wrongly on Grantham since both should have been given a raise. If we are worried about competing for a coach salary from the NFL, why in hell did we hire him. The rules some of you are establishing for Bobo are hypocritical in the context of last year’s raise given to Grantham.

      I argued then against the way Grantham was rewarded for a mediocre year while Bobo had a better year. The pooch was screwed last year and now you want to blame Bobo for last year and this year? Insult to injury!

      Simply put, let’s show Bobo that we appreciate him above the rant of the rabble last year AND this year. Arguing about it just continues the nonappreciation of last year. Following the uncivil and idiotic rants of last year to place an onus on a raise this year will send a message that most of us abhor. That message is “Just Leave, because your continued presence keeps demonstrating how stupid many of us were last year and into this year for trying to get rid of our top O Coach in the SEC.”.


  6. Let me open up another can of worms….did we really get our “money’s worth” out of Grantham this year? I don’t know. Strategically, he had to work around our stupid suspension policies, and while I imagine that he felt the way Shawn Williams did, it was not apparent that anything he was doing or saying was working. Beyond that, we appear to be a well coached defense that plays hard and physical. is that worth 850K? compared to willie martinez, it is worth millions. willie martinez, in combination with jancek and van halanger with Richt’s complicit approval, COST our program money. if martinez worked for free, we would NOT have gotten a bargain. that said, we are going to learn EVERYTHING we need to know about Grantham next season.

    the point being that these are COVETED seats. We need to treat them that way. this is not some bullshit fantasy football draft. Obviously, it all flows up to the environment and culture Richt sets, but it seems to be there are a LOT of guys out there who can recruit, develop players, and contribute ideas to the game plan and scheme. It is more important that we are making sure our guys are doing that well than whether or not they are paid a market wage.


    • HVL Dawg

      Grantham has 12 future NFL players on his squad, yet when we had a chance to play for the national championship, we couldn’t stop 2 quarters worth of simple stretch runs.

      We damn near lost to Kentucky because of defense. We could have lost to Tennessee because of defense, but our offense outscored what our defense gave up. We can whine about Rambo and Ogletree’s suspensions or Jarvis playing hurt, or whatever. I expect our 7 starters plus 4 backups to be better than Kentucky’s 11 best.

      Did we get our money’s worth from Grantham? Hell no. Did Grantham get paid what the market commands? Yes. Did we get our money’s worth out of Bobo? Hell yes. Did we pay him what the market commands? No. If we don’t pay assistants will we keep them? Hell no. They are merceneries and can get free (orange) clothes and a nice office anywhere. Ask Will Muschamp.


      • Cojones

        Good shot, HVL!

        We need to give Bobo two year’s worth of raises for the comprehensive O he has created, his QB training and recruiting ability overall and to show that he is EXACTLY the coach we look for here at UGA. He and his family comprise much more of the Georgia community than any of us.

        Those among us who shouted for his job should be thoroughly ashamed and embarrassed, but you won’t be. You might want to read up on being civil while being critical (you CAN be both as many demonstrated!). You might look for a clue as to how some of you came off toward Richt and Bobo by remembering how you felt toward me when I gave you a taste of your own medicine (in spades).

        We should respond as a group of fans to raising our voices to keep Bobo happy above all costs. His raise should make his base surpass what Grantham is getting.


  7. Scott

    What does Bobo make?