The Arizona Wildcats have lost three assistant football coaches, which isn’t ideal but not necessarily alarming.
Defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo left for Colorado to work with friend Jon Embree, the Buffs’ new coach. Secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown also left for Colorado; he has family in the area and has twice before been a Buffs assistant.
And offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh is going to West Virginia to work for Dana Holgorsen, his former college teammate and the Mountaineers’ head coach in-waiting . “He’s one of my best friends, not just in coaching, but in general,” Bedenbaugh said recently.
So, all three coaches have solid, personal reasons to leave.
But how does salary affect Arizona’s assistant coaching staff? Are the Wildcats competitive?
USA Today last week released its study of coaching salaries in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and I added up the assistant coaching salaries for each Pac-10 team. Arizona ranks seventh.
USC, with high-powered defensive assistants Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron, almost certainly tops the list, although Southern California did not report salaries because it is a private institution. Same for Stanford, whose total salary for assistant coaches is believed to be about $2 million, according to Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News.
Here is the ranking of the other eight teams in the league, according to base salary:
Oregon State: $1,686,612
Arizona State: $1,403,650
Washington State: $1,150,000
*Salary of one assistant coach not listed.
As for the newcomers to the Pac-12 next season, Colorado, which has a new coaching staff, paid its nine assistants $1,494,215 in 2010. Utah’s total was $1,265,000.
While the Wildcats are never likely to compete financially with the Los Angeles schools (or Washington, or with the Nike-fueled Oregon athletic department), Arizona is relatively competitive with the rest of the Pac-10, especially if you factor in Tucson’s lower cost of living.
Of course, ranking in the bottom half of the Pac-10 in assistant coaches salaries means you rank in the bottom half of all BCS conference teams, because most other major conferences out-spend the Pac-10.
Alabama, for example, spent $3,220,000 on its assistant coaches this season. Eight of the Crimson Tide’s assistants made more than the highest paid assistant at Arizona.
Here is the Arizona breakdown:
Tim Kish, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach: $230,000
Greg Brown, co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach: $230,000
Bill Bedenbaugh, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach: $200,000
Seth Littrell, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach: $185,000
Mike Tuiasosopo, defensive tackles coach: $146,510
Frank Scelfo, quarterbacks coach: $145,000
Jeff Hammerschmidt, special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach: $125,000
Garret Chachere, inside receivers coach: $130,000
Dave Nichol, outside receivers coach: $115,000