“Bret has done a wonderful job.”

There are four second-year head coaches in the SEC.

Arkansas’ Bret Bielema is the only one who hasn’t already negotiated a pay raise.  But that could change.

Talk about your low bar for success:

Tennessee recently announced Butch Jones received an extension to 2020 and raise that boosts his annual salary from $2.95 to $3.6 million, according to numerous reports. Kentucky’s Mark Stoops also received a raise in late October and will earn an average of $3.575 million annually through 2019, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze also received a raise that will pay him $4.3 million next season after rumblings he was courted by Florida.

Bielema, Jones and Stoops are all in their second seasons as SEC coaches along with Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, who received a pay raise after leading the Tigers to the national title game last season. Jones is 11-13 overall, 5-11 in SEC games, while Stoops is 7-17 and 2-14. Bielema is 9-15 overall and 2-14 in conference games.

You may think this is friggin’ nuts and I wouldn’t blame you.  But it’s today’s reality in the Southeastern Conference.  Even somebody like Jeff Long knows it.

“To be candid: It’s challenging to know that the market is shifting that quickly,” Long said Thursday. “Those are large numbers obviously. But it is an athletic director’s reality when you’re at a power five conference school, particularly in the SEC, which is the strongest conference and the most lucrative conference in the country. So it’s a challenge to keep those things in perspective. We all have different revenue streams and amounts and different sizes of stadiums and all those things.

“But we’re always going to compete. We want to compete. I know our fans and our administration want us to compete so we’ll continue to do that.”

Meanwhile, in Athens, Georgia…  or somewhere in this great land of ours

I spoke to a Power Five athletic director at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum last week. He said, at some point soon, a number of ADs will simply refuse to keep escalating the pay scale for coaches and start bargain shopping. (Alvarez may have already done this and is simply ahead of the curve.) The AD argued that market forces aren’t totally to blame for the salary surge, as even the recent TV windfall in most leagues isn’t enough to explain how quickly salaries have jumped.

Consider this: When Ed Orgeron was fired as the Ole Miss head coach in 2007, he made $900,000 a year. Seven years later current Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze just agreed to a new deal that will pay him $4.3 million in ’15.

The somewhat frugal AD, who has had the same football coach for a while and pays that coach and his assistants fairly competitive salaries, isn’t sure that even Power Five schools will want to keep competing in this market, and believes they could start trying to lower the salary scale by hiring younger, up-and-coming coaches. Basically, this AD is suggesting schools will start buying fully loaded Chevy Tahoes instead of Range Rovers.

It’s good to have dreams.

38 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

38 responses to ““Bret has done a wonderful job.”

  1. Spike

    These AD’s and schools have more money than they do sense.

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  2. ASEF

    Let’s fast forward to the day Richt retires. How do you think McGarity’s approach limits the search for the next HC and staff? Or does it?

    Because if it doesn’t, then McGarity’s market is Richt and his assistants, and apparently he’s paying what the market will bear.

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  3. Cojones

    This horseshit is making me nauseated. Competing to keep the nonwinning coaches? Just because they coach in the SEC?

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    • Cosmic Dawg

      Seriously. What real magic have Jones or Bielema worked at their programs, other than simply maintaining after dumpster fires? When they were hired, what was the baseline pay for mere competency? Because I think about 100 coaches in America could win 6-8 games per year at Arkansas or Tennessee if you spot them a couple cupcakes.

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      • Scorpio Jones, III

        It is a measure of the horror show at Tennessee that a coach whose record would have gotten him fired not too long ago gets more money.

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        • Butch Please: 11–13 (.458) (.606 over all as a HC)
          Despite going 1-1 against Vandy and Kentucky… His stalwart fans have stuck with him and he is now 2-0 against SOS.
          Pay The Man! 😉

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        • Mayor

          Let’s all pull for the Hawkeyes as hard as we can so UT can have the dubious distinction of having given Sgt. Carter a raise for another losing season.

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  4. OrlandoDawg

    Meanwhile as a season ticket holder I’m expected to pony up an extra $35 per season ticket for the joy of watching La-Monroe, Southern, Georgia Southern, and Kentucky make up the majority of our home schedule. ‘Cause money’s tight for the poor old flagship athletic department and it’s for the kids on the field, of course.

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  5. stick jackson

    … we are waiting for a season that doesn’t end in an soul-searing loss as a direct result of a stupid blunder by our head coach so that we can have an opportunity catch him up with his peers who haven’t won a national championship, without having seeming to reward him for that failure?

    How’s that for an end to the sentence?

    I have to say Senator, as someone who has had you in my reader since near the beginning and has read and (perhaps somewhat weirdly, agreed with) nearly everything you’ve written, this is about the biggest divergence I can remember having with you (well, OK, the playoff).

    Richt isn’t going anywhere. And he won’t coach better if we pay him more money. So why rush to pay him?

    If Bobo leaves for CSU and the best the AD can do is, “I dunno, I guess he wanted to be a head coach,” then I’ll get my torch and pitchfork and join you in the march on ‘Smear (along with many whose previous thoughts on the man were mostly limited to “dammit, Bobo!!”). But if he says, “We made clear to Mike’s representatives that Richt would have the resources to bring him in line with Pruitt and other top coordinators, but I guess he wanted to be a head coach,” then what, exactly, am I supposed to be mad about?

    Same with S&C; if they hire some crusty old ball coach on the cheap, then we should freak out. But what if, as all the rumors I’ve seen suggest, they hire a Courson-approved, forward thinking expert and pay him?

    Spending isn’t our problem, coaching is. Richt is a really good, though flawed coach. Bobo, as the numbers show, an extremely good OC, especially given that he has had both some really nice pieces and some gaping holes to deal with the past two seasons. Pruitt has great potential and a couple of ugly blots on his resume. Collectively, they can do great things, and overall I am as optimistic as I have been since 2008.

    But the time to make it rain on these guys (other than Bobo) is after they do something together (win the East, maybe?), not before.

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    • The point isn’t that Richt will coach better if he’s paid more. It’s about the perception of the program. Coaching compensation is part of a piece with the IPF and other issues.

      I understand the natural instinct to reward success and not settle for less. But I doubt that’s what moves B-M. As for “We made clear to Mike’s representatives that Richt would have the resources to bring him in line with Pruitt and other top coordinators…”, that’s not what McGarity’s been saying. He claims that he won’t review the staff until after season’s end and then in the context of the program’s success. Which is the case?

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      • Hank

        I can say that I probably could have written what stick wrote word for word and that would describe me. Well said, Stick.

        Paying any of them any more will have zero effect on an improvement in their abilities. It may save them if they are leaving because they are dissatisfied with their pay. It will not save them if they are leaving because of any other reason. I don’t get the recruiting trail thing either, honestly. We have a core group of coaches that want to be here, in spite of pay. A head coach who said he won’t leave, regardless of pay. A DC who sought out a lateral move to get here from a National Championship team, who very probably could have got more money from his previous team to stay. Bobo, who has basically been here since High School. We have a bunch of people who want to be here and don’t want to leave. How can that be a negative on the recruiting trail?

        And as far as what McGarity is saying, he is a politician. Dissecting his words and taking him literally is probably not wise. It is in his and Richt’s nature not to be very forthcoming with what they are actually doing. I would be willing to bet that Bobo has a very good picture of what will happen if he gets the offer and elects to stay.

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      • stick jackson

        Winning drives perception more than all other factors combined, times 10. I guess we all “perceived” that Mike Hamilton wanted to win; what other perception could there possibly have been with all the money he was spending on assistants? And I eagerly await the day when the perception is that the IPF has made the players soft and incapable of handling tough conditions, the equivalent of an endless series of trips to Ramsey.

        I don’t know what they are telling Bobo’s agent (and neither does anyone else). nor am i looking for a public pronouncement at this point. That’s not how these things usually work.

        IMO, “perception” is what Bill James calls a “bullshit dump,” a special place we all have where we can go to find what we need to make the points we want to make but can’t otherwise find support for. I love this blog because (IMO) the GTP BSD is a pretty lonely place. This time, we disagree, I guess.

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        • The point I make is based on decades of B-M management. You tell me why Pruitt felt the need to go public about the IPF.

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          • stick jackson

            Because he’s a hardhead and has a red (crimson?) ass, and doesn’t know any other way to be. I don’t think he views popping off as some momentous action to be reserved for only the greatest crises.

            And given Richt’s temperament, that’s fine and probably needed. But if all it took to unstick it was one assistant coach mouthing off one time, it must not have been all that stuck.

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            • DirtyBird

              Dude, Pruitt and the others went public because AD McStupid’s the cheapest AD around. So they needed to embarrass the hell out of him to get his ass in motion. If he doesn’t want to be the SPOTLIGHT of attention, AD McStupid needs to open up his damn checkbook, otherwise, the LIGHTS will get a whole lot BRIGHTER.

              The fan base and coaches are pissed man, we’re sick of not winning champshps because our S & C program is funded poorly, our staff is underfunded and keep getting poached, and our facilities are sub-par when it comes to basic game preparation in poor weather.

              Pruitt says it hurts recruiting, he knows more about football than a ‘fan’ on a blog.

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        • DirtyBird

          Get a clue Dude, Mike Bobo ain’t leaving a top SEC program to go to a non Big 5 team, just trying to get a raise form cheapo AD McStupid.

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        • Stick, you are correct that giving each current coach a raise won’t make them better coaches. However, McGarity’s comments about not wishing to pay what other teams pay for coaches will haunt him when we have to try to fill coaching vacancies. UCLA got the repretation of underpaying coaches at it hurt it in recruiting coaches for a number of years.

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        • MrWang

          I’m in the agreements with Senator and Dirty Bird, none of you other guys make no sense.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Stick, why oh why dI’d you miss that uncontested lay up against Alabama? Dorsey dribbling the ball off his foot up 1 with the ball. Your lay up would have made us up by 3 in an era before the 3 point shot.

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    • DirtyBird

      To even suggest the blame is 100% on coaching is so naiive & uninformed. AD McStupid is the most unpopular guy on the campus. How in the hell is CMR responsible for an indoor playing facility or underpaying Mike Bobo by $300,000 that isn’t in his kiddie pool of money to begin with?

      CMR has the kiddie pool, AD McStupid has the one of the nation’s largest pools, don’t kid yourself.

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  6. DirtyBird

    Let’s hope AD McStupid wasn’t the guy interviewed here, b/c whoever that AD is, had no clue about what’s going on and how to compete.

    Jeff Long nailed it:
    “But we’re always going to compete. We want to compete. I know our fans and our administration want us to compete so we’ll continue to do that.”

    That’s how the better AD’s (Alabama, Auburn), see things when it comes to compensation.

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  7. AthensHomerDawg

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  8. Macallanlover

    No, the extra money will not make Richt or Bobo a better coach, they are very damned good as they are and both seem dedicated to doing their best already, but the Senator is right, perception is important. The way salaries for football coaches are handled by UGA is a detriment that says volumes about the way administrators view football: how little can we get by with without reducing the pile of money we take out for our priorities? The coaches are handicapped by the way punishments are handled relative to other schools, and then given less in terms of compensation and facilities.

    The market we participate in says those coaching jobs are worth more than what UGA is paying regardless of whether that amount is consistent with what outsiders think it should be, or what the education group thinks about it. You don’t build, or maintain, a successful organization by seeing how little you can get by with in salaries or reinvestment expenses while you are hooking the milking machine up to the teats. You want first class, think first class; buy your suits at Wally World and they will become noticeably threadbare sooner. This decision is bigger than the administrators are capable of making, it is why they are teaching and not producing in a competitive business environment, the Board should provide the expertise or they should seek outside help. You don’t cheap your way to titles, step your game up.

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    • stick jackson

      You can’t get to the left of me on Bobo. He is outstanding and anything less than offering him a multi-year contract at approximately a million dollars a year should be cause for outrage. So, we’ll see how that plays out. The Senator thinks McGarrity is likely to be that stupid, I’m reserving judgment. It’s possible he will be, I’ll grant that.

      As for Richt, if you want to give him a big raise for this year’s Florida and Tech games, go right ahead. I’m sure the AA would establish a special fund and deposit the check.

      And now a question. How, exactly, do all these horrible bad perceptions cash out in terms of wins and losses? The one way I can think that’s even plausible is recruiting. So, OK, recruiting. Did “perceptions” cause Richt to undersign year after year, or was it a combination of complacency and having an NFL guy who was mediocre at best as a recruiter as one of his coordinators?

      And look, negative recruiting will always be with us. The question is, do the barbs draw blood? Salaries? Really? You really think a guy is going to make his choice based on that? That’s an awfully convenient argument for the coaches, isn’t it? Not “I deserve more.” This is “No one could possibly do my job successfully unless they were paid more.” We should all be so lucky.

      The IPF is at least plausible, at the margins, I guess.

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      • DirtyBird

        What? Recruits don’t give a rip bout none of that ‘perception’ bullshit.

        Recruiting 4 & 5 star players has nothing to do with whether a team won 8 games, 10, or a National Championship.

        It’s all about which program can get me to the NFL. And CMR is one of the tops in the nation in that, so he’ll always have top recruits as long as that continues.

        http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/alumni-tracker/school/5813

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      • You focus the coaching salaries issue on the effect or lack of effect on recruiting high school players. That is a good tactic in the debate. I want to focus, also, on some that will happen, sooner or later. We will at some point recruit replacement coaches, including a head coach. The coaches’ agents are aware of what schools are paying coaches and what tools the schools are willing to spend money to provide.

        I know Pruitt left FSU to coach here, so UGA is attractive. According to Pruitt working for Richt, not McGarity or Morehead, was the reason he came. Pruitt now publicly complained about his boss’s bosses commitment to the program. I do not doubt that Pruitt read McGarity’s comment on his boss’s job status as, “He is our coach for now.”

        So suppose an assistant leaves. Imagine if Bobo left and took Ball or McClendon or Friend with him as an offensive coordinator, and we have two or more spots to fill.

        If I was an agent and my client entertained an offer from UGA because he wanted to work for Richt I would advise him to take an offer with another school because if the best the AD would say is that “He is our coach for now” them the most attractive thing to my client about the UGA job may not be there for my client soon. Then, it would be working for someone else in an environment that the AD says publicly he is not driven by the market.

        Maybe McGarity things the correct things but when he tries to explain himself it comes out wrong, I do not know. All I can assume his comments and his actions are consistent with his thoughts.

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  9. SouthGaDawg

    This is really weird. I don’t know how to come down on this one. Richt is either truly a man of integrity or he’s just comfortable. He seems to love Athens and doesn’t want to go anywhere. He also seems to be part of the older breed of coaches who don’t tell Jimmy Sexton to go out a start some rumors. Freeze was rumored for UF. Jones is still rumored for Michigan if Harbaugh doesn’t jump. They get pay bumps. Heck. if Richt doesn’t want a pay raise then don’t give him one. I do think the Richt and McTightAss need to raise the pay of the assistants so they are somewhat comparable to their peers.

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