Big Ten Asst. Coach Salaries

Submitted by robbyt003 on December 21st, 2012 at 9:31 AM


ESPN has an article comparing the assistant coach salaries in the Big Ten.  

(Note: Because Northwestern and Penn State are not subject to the same state open-records laws as other schools, their information was not available):

  • Ohio State: $3.29 million
  • Michigan: $2.93 million
  • Illinois: $2.3 million
  • Michigan State $2.2 million
  • Nebraska: $2.15 million
  • Iowa: $2.1 million
  • Minnesota: $2.1 million
  • Indiana: $2 million
  • Wisconsin $1.77 million
  • Purdue: $1.61 million

Well this makes sense why Bielema wanted out of Wisconsin.  They obviously aren't willing to pay their assistants to keep them around.  What's not surprising, is Michigan and Ohio are 1,2.  

Top Paid Coordinators

  • Luke Fickell, co-defensive coordinator, Ohio State: $761,000
  • Greg Mattison, defensive coordinator, Michigan: $758,900
  • Al Borges, offensive coordinator, Michigan: $658,300
  • Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State: $501,700
  • Tom Herman, offensive coordinator, Ohio State: $456,000
  • Everett Withers, co-defensive coordinator, Ohio State: $456,000

This list isn't very surprising, except for the fact that Ohio pays their co-defensive coordinator the same amount as their offensive coordinator.  



December 21st, 2012 at 10:56 AM ^

Too many schools have demonstrated that they won't even give a coach five years anymore, and many vindictively find ways to not pay the full buyouts of coaches who listen to other offers after they fire them, ala TTU, KU, and USF.  

If there was any lesson to be learned from the mass hatchet jobs on Leavitt, Leach, and Mangino, after each had turned down other positions, and the recent firing of Latin community icon Mario Cristobal at FIU after one bad season, it's that coaches don't owe any loyalty to their employers 

Schools show no loyalty to coaches, so why should a coach be obligated to show loyalty to a school?  Bret Bielema got an offer for more than he is intrinsically worth, and more than his market value would probably be if he stayed at Wiscy.  With the growing reputation of Barry Alvarez for micro-management, Bielema would have been a fool to stay at Wiscy.  

The schools have "let the genie out of the bottle."  I can't imagine coaches planning to stay more than about seven years at any school anymore, and can't imagine them not saying "yes" to better offers.  "Disposable" employment runs both ways.

At least we know Brady Hoke is exactly where he wants to be, and has the blessing of those in power.  I am guessing that Hoke could eventually be the exception to the current trend.


December 21st, 2012 at 10:39 AM ^

Even so, if your assistants are good, they're going to move on anyway aren't they?  It's the natural progression of coaching that moves are made in order to get to a HC position.

For an assistant coach "lifer", the angst makes sense.  A Fred Jackson (or Borges or Mattison for that matter) for example, who has no interest in moving up the ladder - if Wiscy was losing those types due to pay scale, that's an issue.  If your RB coach leaves for another RB coaching job b/c he's offered more money (and no other reason), fair enough.

But did Wiscy have those?  I thought most of the defections were well-thought-of guys who were going to be moving on/up anyway.  If your RB coach is good and wants to be a HC, he's going to leave for a Sun Belt/MAC/Other OC position regardless of the money.  He does this for the added responsibility/challenge and to prove his worth for the next step.


December 21st, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

I think the issue with the Paul Cryst move wasn't that Cryst (not sure if I'm spelling that right) took the HC job at Pitt, but that some of the offensive position coaches made lateral moves to Pitt because the pay was better. 

It's like if Mattison left to be the HC at Cincinnati or something, and then Mallory went to be the secodary coach for more money.  We'd be bummed but understand about the Mattison thing, we'd be straight up pissed about the Mallory part.


December 21st, 2012 at 11:03 AM ^

Sure I'd agree with that, and it's essentially my point.  In that case you'd have to know exactly why those assistants left.  If it was money only, fine.  But it's possible they thought they had better opportunities with Cryst, or simply had better working relationships with him.

When they left they may have said "hey I'm making more money, obvs."  But if it was any other reason, they probably aren't going to burn a bridge and say "I hate you Bielema, I'm out."


December 21st, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

Yeah, you never really know why people move jobs, and it could totally be that they liked working with Cryst or they felt more secure there, I don't know. 

But it would be interesting to see what their new pay was, because that would tell most of the story.  If they are making the same or less than Wisconsin, it's obviously not about the money.  But if they are making any significant amount more, then you can talk about liking your employer all you want, but money was probably a big factor.  At the very least, you could say that those guys probably wouldn't have if they were paid well to begin with. 

If I'm making 120k as an assistant at UW, and I can get 140k at Pitt, I'm probably taking it.  But if I'm making 150k at UW, I probably don't care how good my working relationship is with Cryst, I'm not moving my family to Pitt for a 10k pay cut. 

Blue In NC

December 21st, 2012 at 11:22 AM ^

I understand your point but then again I am also trying to reconcile Mattison being "upset" at being paid over $750K per year.  Fickell's pay is basically a reflection that we was the interim head coach and then let go (and for OSU, probably some hush money as well).  I doubt he would get that much in the open market.


December 21st, 2012 at 12:00 PM ^

To do some inter-conference comparisions, here is the database from USA Today that lists the head coach and assistant salaries for all FBS programs. It is sortable by conference as well, so you can compare salaries among staffs. The complete base salary listing for Michigan in 2012, for example, is as follows:


Greg Mattison
Al Borges $658,300
Jeff Hecklinski $232,900
Darrell Funk $213,400
Dan Ferrigno $212,500
Fred Jackson $212,500
Curt Mallory $212,500
Jerry Montgomery $212,500
Mark Smith $212,500


For some SEC contrast, here is what Les Miles' staff gets:


John Chavis
Frank Wilson $561,667
Greg Studrawa $525,334
Brick Haley $422,400
Steve Kragthorpe $410,000
Adam Henry $310,000
Corey Raymond $310,000
Thomas McGaughey $300,000
Steve Ensminger $258,584


This was supposedly updated in November, so it won't capture moves made since then, but it is enough to get a good idea of who spends and who doesn't if you start clicking on various teams.


December 21st, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

Wisconsin is hard to understand.  They pay Alvarez seven figures to be their AD (making him one of the best-paid in the country), and Bielema was getting a pretty nice salary.  So why not pay for the assistants?


December 21st, 2012 at 9:29 PM ^

According to a Wisconsin fan that I know, Wisconsin offered to pay their assistants more but they hated BB. Take that for what it's worth, but that's the word from a bunch of them. It wasn't that Wisconsin was being cheap, it was that no one wanted to stay around BB.

Now, why would you offer huge salaries to new guys? I see if you're bringing in a Greg Mattison, paying him big money. But, they paid what they thought the new assistants deserved and it worked out well for them. They're in the Rose Bowl and Michigan is not. Now, if the assistants want more money then yeah maybe they're worth more. But it's ridiculous to suggest paying more for people who'll take less and get good results. We pay Borges more than Wisconin's offensive coordinator and I'd take Wisconsin's offensive coordinator over Borges.

You don't always have to pay top money for good assistants or to get them at least. It's giving up money to keep them, which like I said Wisconsin was willing to do. I'm sure they'll pay just fine to get the assistants Anderson wants and then they'll pay to keep them. I understand that if you're willing to pay then there's a better chance you get a good coordinator. We overpay ours and we get worse results than Wisconsin. So it's not always about money. 

snarling wolverine

December 21st, 2012 at 11:21 PM ^

But, they paid what they thought the new assistants deserved and it worked out well for them. They're in the Rose Bowl and Michigan is not.

Let's not forget that Wisconsin went 4-4 in league play this year, finished third in its division, and "qualified" for the Big Ten Championship Game only because the top two were disqualified. If not for Ohio and PSU both being on probation, this would have gone down as a colossal disappointment of a season for UW.


December 21st, 2012 at 11:56 PM ^

Given the revenue/profit of the football program and $10 million spending gap to OSU, DB and Hoke must have potential to pay for top position asst as needed.

We have very good recruiting and haven't even lured any superstar recruiting assts with $400k+ (other than Mattison).