Another “watershed moment” in the annals of coaching salaries

Year2 nicely summarizes the history:

It was five season ago that Tennessee made Monte Kiffin the first assistant coach to make over $1 million per year. Five assistants made that much in 2014, with a sixth just $25,000 shy of the mark. That 2009 Tennessee assistant staff cost a then-record $3.325 million. Last season, 14 staffs made at least that much. In 2009, only six assistant coaches made at least half a million. This past season, 73 assistants made half a million or more. And that’s just what is public knowledge. Schools whose assistants’ salaries we don’t know like Notre Dame and Penn State almost certainly push two of those counts upwards.

Muschamp’s new deal feels like another watershed moment like Monte Kiffin breaking the million mark back in 2009. Consider Troy, which just hired former Kentucky OC Neal Brown as its head coach. Brown will make $660,000 per year and has a $1.2 million budget for assistant coaches. In total, that staff will cost $1.86 million. Muschamp will make nearly that by himself to be a coordinator at Auburn.

To repeat: an SEC assistant will make just $26,000 per year less than an entire Sun Belt coaching staff will make.

Those of you who believe that Butts-Mehre has everything on the compensation front under control… well, maybe you’re right.  But I think you and McGarity are ignoring the obvious – the rising flood of money pouring into the P5 conferences from TV and the bar to paying any significant labor expenses due to NCAA rules means there’s more and more money looking to be spent somewhere.  For schools like Auburn, LSU and Alabama, that’s gonna be on coaches and support staffs.  Most troubling of all, the trend only seems to be accelerating.

It’s nice that Richt is willing to take a discount to coach in Athens.  Maybe the rest of the staff is, too.  The problem down the road is that if McGarity and his bosses expect anyone who coaches football at Georgia to accept a similar shave in compensation because it’s such a swell place to work, the labor pool probably isn’t going to be as full as they might expect.  Will that be Butts-Mehre’s watershed moment?  Or the fan base’s?



Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

32 responses to “Another “watershed moment” in the annals of coaching salaries

  1. gastr1

    McGarity’s wake up-call will only come when he loses someone he or Richt values. In short, when Pruitt or Bobo get an offer they can’t refuse and actually take it, that might get McG’s attention.

    I can’t see him changing his ways until that point, though.


    • paul

      I agree. Richt and Bobo are unique. Never the less, if McGarity were smart, and I’m not necessarily sure he is, he’d offer them the money even if they don’t ask for it. It’s what good managers do with their top performing employees in any business. I suspect we will someday find ourselves exactly where Florida did recently. Shocked, shocked I tell you that people perceive our facilities to be less than stellar and unable to get the people we really need to seriously consider coming to work for us. Remind me again, where did we get McGarity?


    • Russ

      Yep, McFrugal won’t pay until he has to. And we’ll lose someone we don’t want to for it to happen.


    • Another Bulldawg point of pride: always a few steps behind the big boys but at least we’re able to put away more cash for the afterlife.


  2. The Count

    The problem is that Mark Richt is an honest and standup guy. To a fault at times. He’s publicly said he doesn’t want to leave Athens. Compare that to Saban who bought a damn house in Austin without saying anything in public. And because of his honestly, GM is literally taking advantage of Richt.

    Then there’s an argument that none of these coaches deserve or need any of this money. Need? Probably not. Deserve? Only if you disagree with competitive markets.

    I just feel bad for Richt. Whether you agree or disagree with him, I know he’d probably like another $2M a year to give to his churches/charities. And the only reason they don’t get that money is because Richt is an honest guy and GM is willing to take advantage of him.


    • McGarity will buy in and Get It as to what it takes to be competitive in the SEC, or he’ll be scapegoated to the wilderness by the good Old Boys and Girls Regent’ Club that Micky-G “thinks” has his back.


      • Bulldog Joe

        +1 I can see a Good Ol’ Boys and Girls revolt coming.

        They can’t be happy with the way our season ended, the way the Gurley situation was handled, our bowl game assignment, or the way their money is being hijacked for non-athletic purposes.

        I can see pressure being put on Jere and others to make changes or they will expose the UGA Foundation financial ruse and/or a withhold their financial support of the athletic program.

        Then the question will be who will blink first and lose the political battle. Will it be whoever represents the boosters, whoever represents Jere’s management team, the AD, or the head coach.

        Out of that bunch, I can see Greg having the least goodwill and political clout.

        He is holding the losing hand, in my opinion.


  3. AusDawg85

    Current UGA coaches, when contract negotiating time comes along (either by contract date or agreement to re-negotiate in the face of another offer) will get a pay bump that is competitive with this inflation in the market.

    The real lesson is that UGA would likely not hire a DC like Muschamp or Kiffen with that kind of price tag. Decision would be to find someone else “just as good” that doesn’t command a high price. So…are these high paid coaches really worth it? That would put UGA at a disadvantage. Or are they overpaid? Then a hire like Pruitt ( and Richt for that matter) makes us one of the smarter schools.

    We’ll see.


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      And even if we see, what exactly does “smarter” mean. I know what it means to me, and probably to you Aus…in fact, to me, we are already smarter…Grantham for Pruitt seems smarter already, to me.

      Ultimately, I guess, it comes to what you want from your football program…Dickhead or Mark Richt.


    • The Count

      “will get a pay bump that is competitive with this inflation in the market.”

      Bullshit. If Richt quit Georgia and interviewed around, he wouldn’t be the lowest paid coach in the SEC.


      • AusDawg85

        I think that’s what I was saying…I don’t think Richt would ever consider another SEC position while still employed at UGA, but if Nebraska had taken a run at him, I would expect BM to offer to pay enough to keep him happy at UGA (which would not put him at the top of the SEC list, but certainly not last.)


    • Chuck

      Ask UT if Monte was worth it.


  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Do you mean we could be coached by Kmart?


  5. Chuck

    Maybe ADGM is saving for the day when he can pay players…He’ll have the budget to pay top dollar. 😉


  6. W Cobb Dawg

    So what’s the worst that can happen to UGA? Let’s say Richt & staff leave. Georgia will continue to be a hotbed of talent, with many players that would like to remain in-state and play in the sec. BM finds another OC somewhere who comes cheap at 2 or 3 million to be our HC – like CMR was. The new HC hires a staff of (relatively) low cost buddies & unknowns – like CMR did. Then we go 8-4 – like CMR did. Then BM sits back for 14 years and watches other programs in our conference rack up championships.

    I don’t see the point of continually checking the costs other programs are willing to pay. It’s obvious UGA isn’t going to play that game. UGA fans are obviously acclimatized to the “good enough to win 8 to 10 games, but not good enough to challenge for championships” level, and there’s no pressure to break that mold – at least in most of our lifetimes.

    Malzahn knows he has to win IMMEDIATELY or he’ll get the boot. It’s a completely different paradigm than UGA’s. CMR isn’t under much pressure and he acts accordingly.


    • Will (The Other One)

      Sort of. But I also remember the pre-Richt days, when Spurrier was the ONLY SEC coach making 7 figures, and the talk was UGA would lose a coach because Dooley and Adams wouldn’t pay the money. Then 2002 happened, and they ponied up. They won’t pull an Alabama, but I don’t think they’d be so short-sighted and miserly to ruin the program. Hopefully.


    • Bulldog Joe

      The worst that could happen is to live in the purgatory of The Georgia Way mediocrity forever, like Groundhog Day.


  7. Tommy

    More and more, I think McGarity is trying to run a succession plan between Richt and Bobo, in part to avoid dealing with the open market. Between the buyouts for hired and fired head coaches, Florida is out $10M in Year 1 to exchange Will Muschamp for the resume equivalent of Bobo. That probably put a few gray hairs on McGarity’s head.


  8. DirtyBird

    Must suck for CMR to have the cheapest AD McStupid in all the conference.

    Yes sir, CMR will officially be the lowest paid coach in the entire conference.

    And the butt of Alabama writers:


  9. Normaltown Mike

    A watershed moment in the anals? I’ve had watershed moments in the anals and don’t wish them upon anyone.


  10. I feel like these salaries are setting most people up for failure. More coaches getting paid $5M a year and more coordinators getting paid $1M plus does not change the total number of conference wins possible in a season. They are all trying to buy wins from a finite pool of games…surely there aren’t enough of them for all of those coaches to be seen as successful.

    Hmmm…maybe if there were some way to have more conference games…


  11. Go Dawgs!

    Butts-Mehre should ask the University of Wisconsin what happens when you constantly underpay assistant coaches. They leave and then the head coach gets frustrated enough to leave, too. Not saying that would happen here at Georgia, but it certainly could. And the day Mark Richt hangs up his whistle? Georgia will learn a lot about what kind of monetary commitment it takes to retain a top-flight coaching staff.


  12. Cousin Eddie

    The low pay would be different if UGA had the best facilities, at least GM could say we have over invested in facilities to make the job of the coaches easier. Or even more support staff as with recruiting assistants, staff to break down film, additional strength staff or a complete nutritional staff. But to be the CHEAPEST in almost all areas is unacceptable. NO IPF, NO huge support staff, A nutritionist AND the LOWEST PAID coaching staff shows complete disregard for the bell cow program of the Athletic Department on the University.


  13. I do thinks it’s ridiculous what programs like Ole miss and Tennessee are doing, paying championship salaries to guys who haven’t earned it, but it’s equally as ridiculous how we handle our staff on the extreme opposite end if the spectrum. Somewhere closer to top 5 is more appropriate since that’s where the program is in the conference. It’s certainly where coach Richt has been. Hell…I still have him 3rd behind only Saban and Miles.


  14. Tommy

    Compensation should reflect risk as well. If you work for a program like Ole Miss or Auburn, which have had 3 or 4 different head coaches in Richt’s tenure, you’re taking a much bigger risk than you would be by working for a guy who’s had his job 14 years. Hell, Auburn has fired two coaches less than five years removed from an undefeated season in the past 10 years. You have to know when you take a job there that the ground can open up underneath you at any moment.


    • Dawgwalker07

      For me that means we ought to be paying Mark Richt and his staff more for BEING stable, not others getting paid more because they might suck enough to get fired.


  15. Who is our Sam Walton or T. Boone Pickens? Are all our big money people also ultra conservative and a part of the good ole boys? I’m not usually a fan of the inmates running the asylum but someone needs a swift kick in the ass.