December 5th, 2012 at 5:40 PM ^

Another plausible theory. For a good example of this, look at Kirk Ferentz: Good coach, hit the realistic ceiling at Iowa, got a couple looks from the NFL...

And he's a bad season or two from getting fired. And he probably doesn't have the cash to improve his assistant staff much, so he's stuck with the situation he has.



December 5th, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

OK - for everyone saying "only 600k???" Can we please just acknowledge that what is a lot of money to someone might not be to someome else? Yeah, football coaches make a lot of money, this is not news.


December 5th, 2012 at 4:01 PM ^

I was estatic with my 3 percent raise this year after 4 years of a salary freeze at my place of employment.  I totally agree with you that 600k, or 23 percent, is not a "negligible" amount of money to any head coach. 

And when you factor in that Bielema must run through razor blades at a super high rate of speed due to his expanding facial surface area, i'm sure that money is needed more than ever.   


December 5th, 2012 at 6:59 PM ^

At the beginning of 2011 Bielema's total compensation was about 1.78 million. He received a raise worth approximately 38% of his salary (link).

In 2009 his compensation package was worth approximately 1.2 million (link), meaning that between 2009 and 2011 he received a raise of approximately 50%.

So it doesn't seem that the raise he received going to Arkansas is out of range with with what he could have gotten at the UW-Madison.


December 5th, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

But the comments weren't discussing it at a percentage, they were just saying "no way, 600k is a lot of money to me" as if that makes a difference. My point is, it's all a matter of perspective, and a lot of people are missing that. One guy said he'd be thrilled to take a new job for a 5k raise, and others on this board would need more than that to justify moving their shit to a new building.


December 5th, 2012 at 3:56 PM ^

The difference between $2.5 and $3 million is essentially negligible. The fact that a) Bielema accepted it and b) Alvarez chose not to match it says a great deal.

I know you all wanted to score the quick points with the "herpa derpa ONLY 600K" comments, but go back and look at how we were acting yesterday. We all expected he was getting a gigantic pay raise.  


December 5th, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

in terms of what Wisconsin would be expected to match, no, there is no tangible difference between the two numbers

and if you really believe that extra $600k is going to appreciably change his financial situation, you're being obtuse. There is a point where more money, even that much more, stops having a noticeable effect on your life. Twice the money? Hell yes. 23%? Eh.


December 5th, 2012 at 4:44 PM ^

Did you never learn about the value of a dollar? You really don't think that there's a difference in the standard of living for someone with $12 million dollars over 5 years vs $15 million? Sure, it doesn't sound like much in comparison, but if you've worked at any paying job you know what a difference 20% makes. 20% is 20%, no matter what your salary is.

And if you don't think his standard of living will change, let's go through the things he can do with his additional $3 million. Actually, let's even cut out 33% due to taxes. So what he can do with his additional $2 million (assuming that is the only extra money he gets):

  • Put it away to put his kid through college one day and use the other $1.5mil on countless vacations
  • Buy the remaining supply of Twinkies left in the country to keep for himself
  • Buy a Lamborghini, crash it, buy another Lamborghini, crash it, etc, until he's gone through ~8 of them 


December 5th, 2012 at 4:42 PM ^

I actually get what you are saying, but I think that you are way off. 

I don't know many income levels where a 23% raise is not significant to consider taking another job.  If you make around $40k, the 23% is approximately $10k.  To someone making $40,000, that $10,000 is huge.

To someone making $100k, it's another $23k - again, most would take the job.

At $500k, 23% comes out to almost another $100k - who is going to turn this down?

And, yes, at Bielema's salary, 23% comes out to another 600k - who would turn that down?  If he were a die hard Wisco guy who played under Alvarez, I could see it.  But he is not - Wisco is just another job to him, so why not make over half a million more per year - every year - to coach at an equally good football school?



December 5th, 2012 at 5:02 PM ^

After taxes, that additional $600K may be less than $300K (depending on the state).

This year, Mrs. Gopoohgo switched jobs and got approximately a 60% pay raise, raising our overall pretax household income by 25%-ish percent.  Overall, however, it hasn't changed our standard of living one bit.  If anything, we've been scrimping a little going out to eat (we bought a new house, so are rebuilding cash reserves)

Why hasn't our standard of living changed, even with a 25% increase in our pretax income?  Because we're happy with what we have.  We like our house, we have relatively new cars and don't want exotic Italian cars, neither of us buy a lot of clothes, and we'll splurge on trips, but hell we really don't have the vacation to take blow-out 3 week vacations.  We just save the increased $, donate a bit more to charity.

If you're happy with where you're at, a 25% increase really doesn't change your standard of living, but the increased $ does mean more in a sense that you're more appreciated at work.  Bielema doesn't really strike me as a guy who's going to pimp-out in custom suits, drive a Ferrari, and wear $100K bling.  He probably can't spend as much as he makes, especially in Arkansas.  But that increased salary does make him feel more appreciated...



December 5th, 2012 at 5:15 PM ^

It changes someone's standard of living somewhere down the road, though, whether it be you post-retirement or your kids in the future.

I'm sure Bielema has some form of a money manager, and I'm sure he's well-aware that $600,000 is a fairly significant annual bump.

snarling wolverine

December 5th, 2012 at 6:27 PM ^

I would guess that Arkansas has a lower cost of living than Wisconsin (the South in general is a cheaper place to live than the Midwest), and it may have lower taxes.  So that extra $600K could be like getting an extra million up here.

Having said that, I'm guessing that his compensation was not the main issue here.


December 5th, 2012 at 4:06 PM ^

To be fair, the article doesn't mention anything about assistant salaries. This is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for head coaches as the demand for top shelf coordinators rises. The Big Ten may not be too far from parity with the SEC in terms of head coaches' salaries, but the gap in assistant salaries is much bigger (though this might be changing, as shown by Mattison's impressive salary). 


December 5th, 2012 at 4:27 PM ^


I think it's not so much Chryst but the assistants that left with him. Wisconsin bumped Chryst's salary after he got offered the Texas OC position, not to what Texas was offering, but significantly. Chryst left because got a major college head coaching offer. Hard to compete with that. But you have to imagine Bielma might have been annoyed at losing the offensive line coach if UW didn't match his offer. 


December 5th, 2012 at 4:35 PM ^

Part of the story that was circulating last night was that Bielma accepted a higher salary so that he would be able to pay more to the remainder of the coaching staff.

Wisconsin athletics do not generate anything near what Michigah, Ohio and PSU bring in due to vastly larger stadiums and higher ticket costs.

i really wonder what the true story is.....even Alvarez seemed surprised.

snarling wolverine

December 5th, 2012 at 6:30 PM ^

Wisconsin athletics do not generate anything near what Michigah, Ohio and PSU bring in due to vastly larger stadiums and higher ticket costs.

Are you sure? Camp Randall Stadium holds 80,000 and is always sold out, and the Kohl Center is an NBA-sized arena and, I believe, always sells out as well for basketball (and probably draws larger crowds for hockey than we do at Yost, because of our limited capacity). They probably make quite a bit of money.


December 5th, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

I don't know why Bielima left, but it seems like the majority of great coaches come from the midwest, particularly Ohio, and many of them attended B1G schools or ones that are in the area. The SEC has boasted Saban, Miles, and Meyer who collectively have 6 national championships since 2003, all from a midwestern football pedigree and with ties back to the Big 10 and their way of playing football....growing up around the great football culture created by Woody Hayes and Bo Schembecler. People seem to forget that what we call MANBALL with great defense and a pounding running game is simply the SEC brand of football, when in truth it was the Big 10's brand.

I actually read on a GameCocks board some dummy posted the reason that Biliema would do well in the SEC is because he was one of the few coaches in the Big10 that coached "SEC style football" face immediately went to my palm.

I don't know whether it is money, weather, or whatever, but the SEC is def. taking some of our great manball type coaches from programs that are not OSU and Michigan and claiming that low scoring defensive battles is their brand, even though not 10 years ago the Big10 got bashed for such style of play.

My guess though is that he left because the South is more talent rich and there are more leftovers after Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Florida sweep through the South. UM, OSU, and Penn State seem to gobble up the majority of the Northern talent.

Steve in PA

December 5th, 2012 at 4:44 PM ^

I think Wisconsin is on the decline, mostly because of losing their guy to Pitt.  This year shoed you actually have to recruit a Qb and develop him instead of just grabbing a transfer.

IMHO, this is no different tha the Ohio coach leaving Fla, but he didn't pretend to be sick or have family issues.  The payday was there and at his present position his value was diminishing.

Steve in PA

December 5th, 2012 at 7:56 PM ^

3rd Place deserves a participation trophy.  They finished behind a team penalized scholarships and ineligible and another team who lost ~10 starters when the door was opened to leave.

Yes, they beat Nebraska.  The same Nebraska that has a history of choking in big games under a coach unfortunately named Bo.


December 5th, 2012 at 5:06 PM ^


I heard UW athletic dept had nearly $40million in PROFIT last year, and we all know that majority of the profit is through football. $600k difference (plus let's say extra $1M for assistants) isn't much when this context is taken into account.

My guess is that, in BA's mind, BB was replaceable. I agree.


December 5th, 2012 at 5:03 PM ^

His raise alone is over 17 times the salary I will make this year. How can you say "only" a $600,000 a year raise. In 5 years that is an extra $3 Million. You must be crazy!!!


December 5th, 2012 at 5:06 PM ^

600k may be a lot in absolute terms, but... No, yeah, it's also a lot in relative terms too. Besides, it wasn't as if Bielema was getting a jump from some initial starter salary at Wisky. He's been the coach there for a long time, so to get this big of a raise is a significant thing.