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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top assistants' pay on the rise


By Steve Berkowitz
USA TODAY

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Southern California assistant Monte Kiffin, left, earned $1.2 million last season with Tennessee. His son Lane, right, is the new head coach at USC.

WADE PAYNE | Associated Press

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NEW YORK The trend of rapidly accelerating pay for major-college head football coaches is being replicated and then some for their top assistants.

With many contracts still being negotiated or finalized, nearly a dozen schools in the NCAA's 120-school Football Bowl Subdivision have made deals under which they will be spending at least 38 percent more on their offensive or defensive coordinator in 2010 than they did in 2009.

These increases come a year after four assistants Tennessee's Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron, Texas' Will Muschamp and Washington's Nick Holt joined Florida State's Jimbo Fisher in having deals worth at least $600,000 a year. (Kiffin and Orgeron have moved to Southern California, and Fisher has become Florida State's head coach.) They also come amid continuing financial distress within higher education.

Dutch Baughman, executive director of the Division 1A Athletic Directors' Association, says coordinators' salaries are rising in a fashion that is without precedent in college athletics.

These salaries are reaching "a very much higher level very much more quickly than I've seen in other positions," said Baughman, whose organization has tracked salaries of football coaches, men's basketball coaches and athletics directors for 15 years.

In 2009, two football assistants made more than $650,000 Kiffin ($1.2 million) and Muschamp ($900,000). This year, assuming Kiffin did not take a massive pay cut from USC, six will be making at least $700,000.

Georgia has agreed to pay former Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham $750,000 to be its defensive coordinator; that's 130 percent more than it paid Willie Martinez, who was fired.

National champion Alabama's defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, spurned an offer from Georgia before Grantham's hiring and received a 108 percent raise to $750,000.

LSU's John Chavis and South Carolina's Ellis Johnson are now making $700,000.

Virginia, Clemson, Illinois and Nebraska each have a coordinator it will be paying at least 50 percent more in 2010 than it did in 2009.