Good assessment. Open the wallet, bring in top coaching talent, win games. What the fuck else are they going to spend it on? A big scoreboard? I'd rather have wins.
Show ‘Em the Money, Dave
[Ed: In case you were wondering what that business about dolla bills was...]
At Wednesday’s press conference, Brandon made reference to Michigan’s mediocre compensation package. I knew that Michigan didn’t pay top dollar for coaches, but when I heard Brandon refer to it as “middle of the road” and “unacceptable”, dude/etts… how can that be? It’s Michigan; we have scratch if nothing else. So, I embarked on a mission with the following objectives: 1) Define middle of the road and 2) recalibrate the coaching salary budget. I have learned, at the very least, a meaningful chunk of the explanation to a few issues we have observed.
For this study, I used USA Today’s Database of coach’s salaries for 2010.
What is Middle of the Road?
To answer this question a more sophisticated look is needed than my reflexive answer: the average or 50th percentile of the population. In Michigan’s case, the population could mean at least three things.
All FBS schools, pop.: 120. Pretty straight forward as to who’s included here. Middle of the road would be top-60 money. No way, Michigan has more money than Indiana, let alone Louisiana Monroe. This population is out.
All BCS AQ schools, pop.: 66. Again straight forward and more reasonable. Middle of the road is top-33 money. A useful benchmark.
“The FBS Hegemony”, pop.: 15 (or so). I have some ‘splaining to do here. Before 1980 college football was pretty different from what we see today: scholarship limits have changed, the passing game has been allowed to evolve, and the Florida schools have emerged. Not to mention the basic amateurism and substitution rules changes that occurred prior to 1970. In college football, anything before 1980 is simply a by-gone era.
As such, I define the “hegemony” as those schools who could plausibly win a mythical national championship in the modern era. To determine these I’ve looked at the schools who have actually won one since 1980, only 19 schools qualify. Of those, only 12 have won an MNC since 1990 and still could: Alabama, Florida, Florida St., LSU, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio St., Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, USC. Since Notre Dame gets special BCS consideration, they’re in. Then there’s another rotating crop of schools that could plausibly vie for an MNC today (Penn St, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Auburn, and Oregon) but haven’t done so in the last 25 years. Fifteen feels like a good number to work with, though I think a reasonable argument could be made for 20. I’m going with 15. So, middle of the road for “the hegemony” would be top-8 money.
Assessing Michigan’s Compensation Package
For simplicity’s sake, I focused my attention on University-based pay for Head Coaches and their staff (total). Of the 112 programs available in the database, the $2.5M Michigan paid Rich Rodriguez in 2010 is better than middle of the road for BCS schools (top-12 in FBS), but basically middle of the road (9th out of 15) for MNC-plausible schools included in the database.
When it comes to assistant coaches, things are different; unfortunately for everyone involved. In 2010, Michigan peeled of $1.8M in compensation for former Coach Rodriguez’s staff ranks in the 73rd percentile for the 112 programs listed (top-31 money) but dead last amongst the big dogs. Who among us is willing to pay more money for better defensive assistants? No one, I’m sure… /s.
I sooo don’t want to rehash but it’s clear that Rich Rodriguez had a specific vision for what he wanted his defense to be capable of and there he knew just the guy to do it (not shown at right). The word on Hoover street is that Jeff Casteel just liked West FUCKING Virginia too much to come to Ann Arbor. OK. Homeboy earned just over $372k last year. Allow me to visualize a phone call between Rich and Jeff circa Thanksgiving 2008:
RR: Hey! Jeff, buddy, pal, friend-o-mine; how goes it?
JC: Aiight, I guess. I kinda miss my homies and it sucks being Brian Kelly’s bitch, but the squad is doing ok down here and I’m super glad that I didn’t uproot my family to move to Michigan and deal with THAT cluster-[bleep], you know?
RR: Totally... *sigh* [collects himself] So, how would you like to bring your sweet-ass defensive coordinating ability and concepts to ace deuce next year? Our helmets got wings… ah? AH? Have I ever told you that you raise me up so I can stand on mountains? That, with you around, I can walk I stormy seas? That I am strong when I am on your shoulders? That you raise me up to more than I can be?
JC: Yo… get a grip, G. What have those hippies done to you, yo?
I dunno, bro; I kinda like it here and like I said, it looks like you have a cluster-[bleep] on your hands--
JC: Hey, Stewart! Eat a [hot dog]! See you tomorrow, Rich, buddy, pal, friend-o-mine.
Or something like that. By “like that” I mean verbatim.
Gerg was our second highest paid assistant last year at $270k, but really he only made $5k less than Magee. Guess what the top two assistants in the hegemony averaged in 2010 excluding Muschamp…about $425k. We had the lowest paid offensive and defensive coordinators by at least $25k and we were $100k away from middle of the pack.
Nope, that won’t do for a team trying not to suck. Bill Martin made many mistakes, but being cheap is the only one I find
impossible very difficult to forgive.
It goes on. You get the picture but, in case you don’t here’s a chart; gotta have a chart:
That thar is bullshit.
How Much Would You Pay to Not Suck?
$6.5 Million per year, exactly. No less than $5.7M
Jim Harbaugh commanded a salary at that Nick Saban / Mack Brown level ($5M per year). Pretty steep but I’d shell it out this very second… Anyway, Meyer, Stoops, Miles, Tressel are at the $4M range. To be the program everyone
used to thinks of when they hear MICHIGAN--you know, part of the hegemony. Right?—we need a head coach worth at least $3M (Mark Richt) and probably more like $4M (Jim Tressel - $3.5M)If you’re going to beat Tressel don’t you have to, you know, beat Tressel?
As for assistants, the golden ratio fits very nicely: 62% of budget on head coach, 38% of budget on the rest of the staff. That equates to a total budget of $6.5M.
But Wait, There’s More…
I think Michigan should be will to pay top dollar for the ultimate prizes (Bowl Wins, B1G Championships, National Championships). We need escalators for each accomplishments for everyone on the staff. Something like this:
Staff - Bowl Win: +5% Salary
Staff - B1G Championship: +10% Salary
Staff – National Championship: +35% Salary
All cumulative. So, winning a National Championship would increase each staff member’s pay by 50%. At a budget of $5.7M, a national championship would result in an outlay (salaries and bonuses) equal to Alabama’s base 2010 salary budget ($8.4M).
Boom, let’s get to work.
Assistant type folk I’d like to see M land/go after once we have a horse:
- Chuck Heater – Formerly DB / co-DC at Florida; played at Michigan with Dave Brandon.
- Teryl Austin – Formerly DC at Florida; DB coach for two Super Bowl Teams (Seattle 2003, Arizona 2006); defensive backs coach in prime Carr years (1999 - 2002).
- Scot Loeffler – Coached and/or recruited Tom Brady, Drew Henson, John Navarre, Chad Henne, Ryan Mallet at Michigan.
- Phil Bennett - Impressive 2009 national ratings in sacks (3.62 sacks/game), rushing defense (17th, 106.31 yards/games), scoring defense (19th, 19.77 points/game) and total defense (23rd, 319.31 yards/game). In 2010 Pitt ranked 9th in total defense (304 ypg).
- Bill McGovern - 2010 Eagles ranked #1 nationally in rushing defense (80 ypg), 13th in total defense (310 ypg), 19th in scoring defense (19.5 ppg)in the ACC in rushing defense, allowing just 103.2 rushing yards per game.
Everyone but McGovern is currently available AFAIK. It’s guys like this that make me most nervous about not having an HC locked down right now. I’d feel much better about Brady Hoke if I knew who he would have in tow with him if he were to be hired.
Still, I prefer to find someone who commands a $3-4 M salary.
Getting and paying a top coach may cause pressure to win right away. All of the coaches above recruit players/athletes not always players with character. I know wins cure all but do you want to get a coach who does or could have 30 arrests on their team but win 2 NC or get a coach who consistently allows players to do whatever they want (twitter or sell memorabilia) or allow a coach to cut/grey shirt players so they can get better ones?
Very few consistent contenders seem to avoid trouble (TX & VT) many seem to bring trouble along with wins. Is Michigan willing to have both to be a consistent BCS caliber team? Is that what DB wants? Stanford had a great year but without Luck they may not reach these levels for a few years.
I personally feel we have strong enough team leadership and a strong minded coach could allow a few character issue athletes in the program to push the talent level to the NC level (see how the patriots used Moss, Dillion, etal)
When I read this last night, I thought your coaching selections were superb, but then I cooled on the idea of hiring 3 former DCs. I think that could lead to some conflict. I like the idea of Teryl Austin and Chuck Heater. Teryl Austin was here at the same time as Hoke, so they know each other and I think it's a very possible hire at DC if Hoke comes in. I think if we bring back Steve Szabo and hire a DL coach (Hoke should be able to find a very good one) the defensive side of the ball would be stacked.
Scot Loeffler is also an excellent hire. I don't know why you stopped there, though. Bring back Soup Campbell and Fred Jackson as well. Now all you need is an OC and an OL coach. I would assume that Al Borges would come along for the ride, and I'm guessing he can coach OL.
That leaves one open coaching position and I'm guessing Jeff Hecklinski would be that guy. He normally coaches WR or RB, but he's also the recruiting coordinator. Instead of a position, give him special teams.
If this were to be the staff that Hoke brought in with him, I'd be ecstatic. Most of these guys have coached some of our best players on some of our best teams and most of them worked together at one point or another, so you know they can work well together.
$3M base, $1m for winning division, $1M for B10 championship.
That would make our next coach the 7th highest base and 3rd highest after bonuses. #1 in B10 after bonuses as well I don't think there is any candidates out there that command Satan money, including JH.
i heard on this blog we offered JH $5 big ones a year, which is what 49rs paid him. If this is true ( after all, isn't everything on this blog fact checked as well as NPR and the BBC ? ), we were at least willing to open the chest for him. He just wanted to go pro ( or go where it's not cold or far away. I agree. I wouldn't go back home in the winter for less than 6 big one$ ).
That was reported by John Clayton. But with all the false reports and rumors last week, I'm not putting any credence in it.
Approach. UM clearly has the resources...time to start to use them. NY Yankees may get crap for spending as much as they do, but they get the talent they need to win...UM should act similarly w/r/t it's coaching staff, they only place they can spend money legitimately.
from fans of teams who do not spend money and want to win (or pretend to want to; some teams don't even go through that charade). They spend money because they have it and because they're owned by a family that will spend it to win ... but also because they were built into a money-making business that could generate more cash that could be funneled back into the team.
Michigan's a little different in that they don't have that level of cash available compared to other hegemony schools, but there is/will be more money coming from the BTN, and even now, they certainly don't need to be taking a Purdue-style approach to coach hiring. (Along with other criticisms like "Hope had no I-A experience and little I-AA experience", one that Burke is getting is that he's rumored to be a cheap-ass, which is a significant issue on the basketball side.) As the OP pointed out, we'd all have happily sent in a little money (assuming that's within NCAA rules, of course) to have provided RR with a defensive coordinator who'd have worked in that system. Hopefully the HC that Brandon hires will be given that kind of coin to attract assistants as well.
After checking the ticket prices on StubHub and Ebay this year, I found that you could have attended every game for less than face value of the tickets. In fact, I bought 2 tickets in the Chairback seats on the west side 50 yard line for the Wisconsin game for $50 each. The donation required for the season tickets in this section is $2,000 ea or about $285/game. So, the actual ticket price was about $340/ticket. With those prices and lack of demand, the season ticket sales will drop and once that happens, it will be like a house of cards and there will be empty seats.
With the amount of money that has been invested in the stadium, it is absolutely essential that we field a Championship team. The Bricks and Mortar are great but it never assures a successful program in any business venture. It is people that define success and to attain that success means investment in people. So, if Michigan is going to be a Champion, then we need to be at the top or very near the top in compensation for our coaches to get the very best available.
Spend the money necessary. For a school like Michigan to have a rich alumni network like they do and to not use it (legally, by hiring coaches to ensure the football program's success) is foolish.
Is it common knowledge that Casteel didn't come here because of the money? I knew he was offered the spot but declined. It almost had to be because of money, or lack there of, to decide leave your hometown.
As far as I know there is no concrete evidence of why he specifically did not come here. It is generally assumed (maybe with "insider knowledge") that he really liked West Virginia and didn't want to move. Presumably if he had been offered enough money he would have made the move.
UM lags hard on the assistant front. Hard to get an up and coming stud coordinator to Ann Arbor when you pay half of market.
Also, not to nitpick, but the fact that they're squaring off in the MNC this week could bump Auburn/Oregon out of "plausible" MNC contenders to "definite." But I agree with your general list , more or less.
Great assessment. I really enjoyed reading this.
I do, however, have to nitpick on this:
Teryl Austin – Formerly DC at Florida; DB coach for two Super Bowl Teams (Seattle 2003, Arizona 2006); defensive backs coach in prime Carr years (1999 - 2002).
Wrong years for the Super Bowls...
It has always frustrated me at how little we spend on our entire coaching staff. At least DB recognized that needs to change. This is a big reason why I have full confidence that we will have a great coaching staff next season, from top to bottom.
that sort of hints at why we may not have been able to lure a top DC to M in the past few years, i wonder how much that hamstrung RR, not just with Casteel, which it likely did, but in subsequent hires as well.
Very nicely done, you hear about head coach salaries all the time but you don't hear about coordinators' too often (unless it's a ridiculous amount for a supposed head-coach-in-waiting, i.e. Muschamp.)
Jesus I didn't realize we were THAT far removed from even the average for staff salaries of the hegemony. I think DB is shrewd enough to spread the wealth beyond our next head coach...I hope...
The lowballing of coaches obviously hurt, but more than the money issue is the fact that those other schools you listed (maybe outside of OSU) always seem to be focused on running their football programs more like pro outfits than college teams. Teams like Florida and Alabama say "screw the spirit of the rules, we want to win" and that's how you have massive oversigning and more arrests than SEC wins. For UM to go to that level, they'd have to sell their soul a bit, and I don't think that would work in thss culture. So while I agree that UM needs to spend more on the coaching staff, to really compete we'd all have to accept that rules are made to be broken, and that is one hurdle I don't see Brandon being willing to overcome.
Mathlete- you're expecting triplets and putting out awesome content, gratis, like this? If you're ever in Chicago, I owe you a beer man. Well done.
Did I miss something? Was it revealed anywhere whether RR coaching staff had any incentives/bonuses for making /winning bowls, the B1G, MNC?
I trust Brandon's statement, and your research, but did you have access to the contract details?
The Michigan coaching staff (while quite possibly underpaid) may have missed 3 years of very large payouts due to the teams poor performance.
I'm all for opening up the wallet to make Michigan competitive, but most of the head coaches are flat out declining interest in Michigan, not bailing halfway during negotiations when the AD gets cheap.
You have 13 "hegemony" schools in bold and say you have a group of 15. Were Auburn and Oregon the two extra schools you added into that group?
According to the database you reference, Malzahn makes $500,000 at Auburn this year. Since Cam Newton is definitely gone gone gone maybe we can pay him around $600k to $750k to be the OC for Denard. That would be my dream.
If all the Miles buzz is true, we should get our wish of paying for good coordinators. One of his best qualities (maybe THE best) is that he hires great coordinators.
As a way to keep him at Auburn.
I thought 500k was a little low. Well, then we probably won't get him even with the "open checkbook" policy.
$1.3 million to keep him from going to Vanderbilt. Highest paid assistant coach in the country. Statistical outlier. Has a fun first name.
I saw on the USA Today table that he has $3.7M in salary with a rather large $1.7 in bonuses. Not too shabby. Also shows the difference between a motivated school and ourselves.
$2 Million to the HC
$2 Million split up, $100,000 to the parents of each of the top 20 senior high school football players in the country (just don't tell the kids). Hopefully the parents 'steer' enough of their kids our way.
Laugh at NCAA all the way to MNC game.
that Brandon has an all-star coaching staff in mind, like they seem to have built in Florida? Charlie Weis as OC, Bill Muschamp as HC sounds like a vicious combo.
Is there precedence anywhere of a head coach being fired by a schoos then rehired as a coordinator by his successor?
i doubt anyone hired as the mich HC would rehire RR as a OC.....
very realistic, but it wouldn't be a terrible move. Even the people who hated RR seemed to agree he'd make a good OC.
Thanks for the analysis! I wish I had an MGoBlog community to come up with this kind of stuff for my real job!
I found our perfect candidate!! ALL SERIOUSNESS! tell me what you guys think.
played DB in college, then went on to the NFL for 6 years or so.
Was co-Defensive Coordinator with Northern Iowa
and is not the WR coach for the nations sexiest offense: Oregon.
and to top it all off. He is a 35 yr old. HIGH OCTANE RECRUITING MAGNENT!!!
what more can you ask for. He would bring an offense that fits our talent perfectly, and he has a defensive background. I dont think we could ask for much more.
Then there’s another rotating crop of schools that could plausibly vie for an MNC today (Penn St, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Auburn, and Oregon) but haven’t done so in the last 25 years.
Yes I agree, either Auburn or Oregon could plausibly vie for a MNC today...
I don't know. I think they're about 2 days away from vying for a MNC. Their fans need to be patient with the coaches. They're on the right track.
I just want to add this historical backstory to this excellent post:
There are reasons UM has not been the highest paying program around. Bo, for instance, never had a multi-year contract. He was year to year, right to the end iirc. Neither Bo, Mo nor Llo were ever about the money, nor was there any likelihood they could have been lured away with a mountain of money. All three were (or likely would have been, in the case of Mo), Michigan lifers. Bo got a little bump after rejecting TAMU, but most of it came in the form of a Domino's franchise in Columbus.
I don't think money was an issue in 2007, except in the case of what might have been accomplished with Casteel. Martin actually did throw some dough around, agreeing to RR/Barwis demands for weight room modernizations.
I wholeheartedly agree that that approach is unlikely to ever work again, especially in the case of the assistants. Hoke would take the job at mimimum wage, sounds like, but he would never get good help around him on the cheap.
and 110,000 in the seats, a $3/game "coach surcharge" per seat would equal $2.475M/year. add that to what RR was getting and you get to the $5M that Harbaugh just got. Make it $5/game and you you can give him (or basically any coach you can think of) $6M/yr. it wouldn't have to be equal of course - those folks referenced in the comments above who [pay $285/game would not blanch at $300, and i would imagine most students would not blanch at $1.
Point is with an average of 825K people per year walking through the gates at Michigan stadium it does not seem it would be too hard to come up with a couple mil if money is truly the issue...
I read this yesterday. And it finally crept into my mind today that you made a great point.
Imagine if Casteel had left WV for the kind of money Michigan can certainly afford.
I think things would have been very different, particularly in '10.