Money problems

Sooooo… it turns out LSU was in negotiations with Jimbo Fisher to become the next head coach there.  The problem was the school couldn’t make the numbers add up.

Literally.  Miles and his staff, as we’ve heard, would have been due roughly $17 million dollars if they’d have been let go.  But that’s only half the story.

Fisher makes $5 million per year and has a buyout of $5 million.  He likely would have been given a multiyear contract paying him more than $5 million per season.  A new coaching staff would have cost the school another $5 million.

The final price tag to part ways with Miles and hire Fisher was more than $30 million.  That figure “shocked” Alexander and other officials.

Now, mind you, this is all information that anyone with Internet access could have scrounged up with an hour or so’s worth of typing, but evidently the people running a major state institution have no clue how much an SEC coach costs these days.  I don’t know about you, but Miles or no Miles, if I were in the Louisiana legislature and Alexander came to me asking for more funds that he assured me would be prudently spent, I’d have a hard time not laughing in his face.

These guys really don’t have a clue what they’re doing.  They need every penny from all the broadcast revenue rolling in simply to avoid making hard financial decisions.  And even then, they can’t always make it.

On the plus side, at least we know there’s a dollar limit on what somebody will spend to beat Nick Saban.

67 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

67 responses to “Money problems

  1. StatGal

    This must make Les feel all warm and fuzzy… But for a little money trouble he’d be looking for a new job?

    The funny thing is that it apparently took the additional millions for the hiring of Fisher and a staff over the 17million just to get rid of Les and co for them to decide it was too much. Like $17 million wasn’t enough… Keepers! And surely they had those numbers at their fingertips.

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  2. Somewhat related, do you think this round of hires has shown the schools starting to exercise SOME fiscal restraint? People thought that due to the number of openings, $5 million – $6 million/yr contracts were gonna be passed out like candy. And while few actually numbers have been published, I can’t imagine any of the new hires are approaching that. Jimbo was the only one that potentially could have.

    Is this a sign of some common sense coming into the system, or do you attribute it to other factors?

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    • The guys who could command that kind of money are already pretty well locked down contractually.

      If Miles didn’t have that ginormous buyout, I don’t think he’d be at LSU today.

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    • Reverend, I attribute it to no one (including us) has gone for the home run hire. Richt may be a home run hire for the U, but even they had sensible limits.

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      • Yeah that’s kinda what I’m getting at though. Was fiscal restrain part I’d the reason nobody went for any home run hires?

        I agree with Bluto that I’d not for the buyout, Jimbo would have ended up with a huge contract. But one huge contract would have still been a lot less than people were speculating back when there were 11 openings so early on. I’m not saying it’s the ONLY reason by any means, but I do think there are fewer schools out there willing to pay silly money than people thought. Though if you’re in the camp that believes that even $4 million/yr is silly money, I won’t argue with you. 🙂

        Will be curious to see what happens next year if AU and some other big names are looking. I really think a big part of why we didn’t see any huge contracts is because of what schools were looking. It never made sense to me, looking at who the schools were that were looking (despite the number of them), that the market was gonna go that high. I said as much here a couple of times.

        I’m not willing to say the fiscal restraint is a trend tho until we see schools like Texas, AU etc show that restraint, which probably won’t happen.

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        • Don’t make the mistake of thinking the market isn’t trending up. It is. Look at the contracts Houston offered Herman and Memphis offered Fuente. Midmajors are crossing the $3 million a year line now.

          Every SEC West coach is still making at least $4 million a year. Best way to put it is that the market is catching its breath.

          Some school out there will again do something crazy and the rest will try to run and catch up. Jimmy Sexton wouldn’t have it any other way. 😉

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          • Yeah I agree with all that. I guess my point is just that while the waters rose this year, they didn’t reach the flood levels people expected. Not to say they won’t in the future tho. I’ll be curious to see what the top openings end up paying next year.

            And shoot, to be honest, I’m curious what THIS year’s are actually paying too. Kirby and Herman are the only actual numbers I’ve seen. I’m curious what Fuente, Helton, Richt, etc actually signed for. Does Miami publish those numbers or do they pull the “we’re a private school” line and not publish?

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          • Borodawg

            I would think the mid-majors are increasing salaries and buyout clauses, if there coach is a hot commodity, so they can make bank when there coach goes to the Big 5. See Colorado State.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Good observation. There is an inherent difficulty with making a “home run hire” in that there are not many “home runs” available to hire. The few out there already have great jobs at great places; that is why they have already been “home runs.” A lot of those guys have families with kids in school and in existing circles of friends, and they are going to say, “why move?” Fisher was one of the very few willing to make a move and his circumstances are s bit unique. He was pissed at his school president for overruling him and extending Winston’s suspension from a half to a game, because he shares a state with two power teams with NC history and because he has a history at LSU and LSU has a recruiting rich state all to itself. And as you noted, and Senator noted, there is a big expense in buying out the home run’s contract.
        I don’t doubt a school looking for a coach, such as Carolina, may have made quiet calls to home runs agents to see if any home run was antsy to make at best a lateral transfer, but did not want to publicly be turned down.

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        • Yeah your last paragraph is honestly why I never thought the market was gonna go super high. Again, because of the schools involved. It takes two to tango – a school has to be willing to pay home run money to land a home run hire, but a home run coach has to be willing to go to that school for home run money too. This is an extreme example, but just for illustrative purposes, even if Maryland and their big money Under Armour guy were willing to pay $8 million/yr, that doesn’t mean Nick Saban would be willing to go there (granted other people might. Again, just using an extreme example). Even though there were a record number of openings this year, it just never made sense to me that there was going to be a landslide of huge contracts – mainly because of the schools that had openings. Not only did most not strike me as willing to pay silly money, I didn’t see most as a school that a home run guy would go to anyway.

          Now I’ll admit I did expect Southern Cal to end up paying home run money to somebody, but unless Texas had cut ties with Strong, did not expect anyone else to (prior to the LSU stuff kinda coming up out of nowhere). But while we don’t know hard numbers for anyone yet, I think we can safely say that no new coaches are gonna be making anywhere near $5 million next year, which is not at all what most expected.

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        • Mayor

          Gassie, you make a lot of sense but applying this logic to Georgia why in the hell did we let CMR go then? I thought the idea was to get a “home run” hire in Athens. Kirby Smart is not a “home run” hire. Kirby Smart is another Mark Richt–a coordinator with no HC experience. He’s not an upgrade, he’s a downgrade because even if he is the equal to CMR (and I don’t think he is) we have to go through the same mistakes and the learning curve that we went through with CMR. And make no mistake about it, HC is a very different job than either OC or DC. Even though I don’t like the way it was handled, I’m down with CMR leaving as long as we have a “home run” hire–somebody like an Urban Meyer–only not Meyer personally–but someone of that stature in coaching. Gary Patterson, Art Briles, Chip Kelly (who might actually be available)–someone of that stature. But Kirby Smart? He’s not even really the DC at Bama–Saban is the real DC at Bama. Criminy, this is a train wreck in the making. This is looking sort of like we are LSU, only we are LSU on drugs.

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          • DawgPhan

            +1

            what is the point of all that heavy lifting if you dont flex every once and a while.

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          • Good post, Mayor, and this has been my point from the beginning of all of this. This program isn’t where it was in 2000 where we could take a chance on the “hot coordinator” (i.e., Mark Richt). We could afford with the relative size of the buyouts to make a play for the home run. GM’s puppet masters played him, and now he’s going to have to live with the results.

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          • GaskillDawg

            Just my opinion, but The J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics decided to fire Richt before he found out who he could get. Smart was an easy target since he is an alumnus with NC rings as an assistant. The AD may have sent out feelers to Home Runs’ agents to see if Home Runs would be interested in working for him, and I will bet he got a big fat “No” because our penury is well known in the business. Why go from a great job to a job where the HC has to battle with the AD over financial support? I do not believe for one second we were willing to part with, just as an example, Jimbo Fisher money, and I doubt that Home Run guys would be willing to give up great jobs to work somewhere where he has to fight for pay raises for assistants, etc.

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          • The Bruce

            Every coach to win a national championship since 2000 has done it inside of five years, with the lone exception of Mack Brown (8th year). Even with him throwing the numbers off, the average was only 3.08 years. http://footballscoop.com/news/want-to-win-a-national-title-better-do-it-quickly-or-you-might-not-do-it-at-all/

            Does anything about Mark Richt’s tenure at Georgia lead you to believe that he could/would be the ONLY coach to break this trend? National championships aside, does anything about his recent performance lead you to believe that Richt could get back to even winning the SEC East on a regular basis? He wasn’t gonna do it with Schottenheimer. What about Kirby Smart’s resume leads you to believe that he is destined for failure? Every successful head coach was once a coordinator, most with less-impressive resumes than Smart’s. Bottom line: you need to take some deep breaths, pour a warm bath, and relax. Everything is going to be okay.

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          • we have to go through the same mistakes and the learning curve that we went through with CMR.

            Didn’t CMR go 13-1 his second year? I can’t remember

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  3. DugLite

    So have we hit critical mass in the coaching salary war and long term contracts with exorbitant buyouts? We will see how UGA handles Kirby’s contract and contracts of his assistants.

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    • Hogbody Spradlin

      I don’t think so. This particular year, there are no big names like Corch or Jim Harbaugh going to a new gig, thus no racheting of the top salary. OTOH the buyout clauses may cause a little stability.

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    • No One Knows You're a Dawg

      I think we’ve hit Peak Revenue for television contracts in all sports, including college athletics.

      ESPN lost 3 million subscribers over the past year, was ordered by Disney to cut 350 million from their budget, and has recently laid off hundreds of employees. And much of ESPN’s spending is tied up in contracts with various conferences and leagues. For the next round of negotiations for broadcast rights, I can see them making a credible argument that they can’t afford to pay more (or much more). And if they can’t make the numbers work, I doubt the other networks can either.

      Which means I don’t see future revenue for SEC teams continuing to jump the way it has over the last 25 years. And I believe that means coaches’ salaries are close to plateauing. Boom times can last only so long.

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  4. Brandon (Version One)

    With his apparent lack of interest in making financial choices Alexander should run for Congress, he’d fit right in.

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  5. Denver94

    Never change, Louisiana.

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  6. UGA85

    Maybe we should look for the positives in this. UGA is fiscally sound. There is no huge debt load or financial obligation, that I know of, at our school. The IPF will be awesome and state of the art. We can afford to change coaches when we see fit and can afford new staff. Doubtless, our athletic department has underperformed. But being able to pay for upgrades and people is important; we are different than LSU in that respect, and many others, most likely, as well. This part of “The Georgia Way” makes me proud and thankful, and gives me hope for the future.

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    • Mayor

      Well, then let’s just hire the HC from Clark Central High School then, since all our fine new facilities will carry the day whoever the new Georgia HC turns out to be. That’s the real Georgia Way mindset right there.

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    • GaskillDawg

      There are often two ways of drawing a conclusion from a fact. The fact that UGA AA has a ton of money saved can be reasonably interpreted as a virtue. I fully understand your conclusion.
      Another inference from the fact that UGA AA has a ton of money saved is that we are too enamored with the size of the bank account and do not spend enough on resources that the HC needs to compete at the Alabama level.

      I will bet a lot of HC candidates would draw the “too cheap” inference that the “virtue” inference and those are the ones we are trying to influence. If he are looking to hire fund managers those candidates would draw the “virtue” inference.

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      • GaskillDawg

        TYPO:

        The last sentence should have been:

        “I will bet a lot of HC candidates would draw the “too cheap” inference rather that the “virtue” inference and those are the ones we are trying to influence. If he are looking to hire fund managers those candidates would draw the “virtue” inference.”

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  7. FarmerDawg

    Here is some food for thought. Most of the coaches in the age range and with head coaching experience are not very good such as James Franklin, even Chris Peterson hasn’t burned it up at Washington and he looked like a slam dunk. This is why I’m comfortable with Smart because the other options are no better, and probably cost more.

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    • Mayor

      So let me get this straight…..You’re comfortable with making a mediocre hire to save money. Right? Why did we get rid of CMR then?

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      • FarmerDawg

        No saving money is just an added bonus for the best hire UGA could make in a coaching market that is crappy all the way around.

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        • Mayor

          How do you know it is crappy? We haven’t tried to get the home run hire. We apparently offered Kirby from day one and the “big time alumni” who were supposedly pulling the strings on firing CMR had McGarity fire CMR expressly to hire Kirby before Kirby got signed up by USCe. That doesn’t sound like even thinking about a home run hire. The stated reason for making a change was to get a top quality HC who could take us to the promised land–someone like a Chip Kelly or a Jim Harbaugh, not necessarily those exact guys, but coaches of that caliber. That isn’t happening. All you guys on this blog who have been agitating for a change at HC, you got your change happening now. Why are you not all over this on the intertubes calling GM out for what this really is–a squandered opportunity to get a really top quality HC in Athens. Skeptic? illini? Biggus? WTF are you doing rolling over like this for a second rater? I’m ashamed of all of you.

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          • FarmerDawg

            Who is this head coach you speak of Harbaugh is at Michigan,and Chip Kelly is a gimmick or side show take your pick. I’ve thought this thing was a bad idea from the beginning. Richt has been fired and there never was an obvious choice aside from Smart. Getting a top notch head coach like Meyer or Saban is all about timing and the timing sucks this year.

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      • The Bruce

        In what world is Kirby Smart a mediocre hire? He has coordinated the defense on THREE national champions and has been named the best assistant coach in the country TWICE, all in the past seven years. If you were going to hire a coordinator, he would be at the absolute TOP of the list. What makes you think a head coach would necessarily be better? Was Jim Donnan a better hire than Mark Richt? Makes no sense.

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  8. This is text book relationship and trust building, eh?

    Can you imagine being hung out to dry by your AD and twisting in the wind for a couple of weeks…but then you show up for work on Monday and realize the same jack leg owes you $15M?

    I think I would go ahead and use my sick days.

    Have a good day,

    BD

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    • Hogbody Spradlin

      And I bet a schmuck or two from the LSU administration is gonna visit Les and say they were behind him all the way and he’s their man.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Yeah, Les knows that LSU is willing to pay $17 million to get rid of him and the cost of getting rid of him goes down each year. He knows it is SEC Championship or bust in 2016 or 2017.
      His problem is UGA is sure fire to win the SEC both years, now, so Les better be deciding what a filthy rich ex-LSU coach is supposed to do with himself.

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  9. dawgfan

    It is ridiculous and shameful that the football coaches in the SEC are making 4 or 5 times what the university presidents are making in salary. For that matter, Pruit and Schotty made more than Jere Morehead. The big 7 or 8 in the SEC are nothing more than minor league teams for the NFL.

    LSU ran the numbers and decided to step away from the edge. Can you imagine how INSANE it would be for a public institution to pay $15 million to an already rich individual that is under contract to not work? It’s not like Les Miles isn’t qualified to do the job either.

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  10. Normaltown Mike

    Laissez les bon temps roulez!

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  11. Doug

    Let’s keep in mind this is Louisiana. Budgetary management hasn’t exactly been their state government’s strong suit in recent years.

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  12. sniffer

    Don’t know what the numbers are for Malzahn, but I expect to see a similar scenario next year at Auburn. Unless there is a major turnaround, that is. With Lowder clipping coupons these days, are there enough “family” to pay the bills?

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  13. DawgPhan

    I was talking about this with the wife last night and i am surprised that UGA has the type of boosters that could write the checks that are needed right now.

    IPF $30million ($15mm private)
    CMR $4million
    Staff buyouts $5-6 million
    $25million just to get to this point.

    Then if Smart comes and wins some of those “support” battles that has to be another $2-3million per year at a minimum. Could be much more depending on what battles are won. And that even hard fought $2-3million more in support is just a fraction of what Bama is out spending us by every year.

    I would suspect that ADGM will be selling the name rights to contract buyouts in the near future. The Don Leeburn Head Coach Buyout Endowment.

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  14. Cousin Eddie

    On the plus side, at least we know there’s a dollar limit on what somebody who is in financial straights will spend to beat Nick Saban.

    I believe if they thought they could raise the cash without causing a giant issue with the fact they have ran the college into near bankruptcy they would have made the move.

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