Sonny Dykes

Cal coordinators double up on pay

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In yet another sign of the high cost of big-time college football, two new Cal assistants will make double the amount pulled in by their predecessors — while also raising the financial bar for other coaches in the conference as well.

The school released documents Friday related to the contracts signed by Tony Franklin and Andy Buh, the offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively, hired by new Golden Bears head coach Sonny Dykes.  Franklin will make $653,000 in 2013, while Buh will “settle” for a little less at $608,000.

Last season, OC Jim Michalczik pulled in $294,600  while his defensive counterpart Clancy Pendergast earned $245,000.

Both of the coordinator’s deals are three-year contracts.

To put their pay in perspective, the highest-paid offensive coordinator in the Pac-12 in 2012 — outside of USC and Stanford, which are not compelled to reveal salary information — made $480,000 (Colorado’s Eric Bienemy).  Because of his departure from the program, it’s known that former USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was paid a little over $1.5 million in 2012; the next-highest-paid DC in that conference was Washington’s Justin Wilcox ($750,000) followed by Oregon’s Nick Aliotti ($552,500).

If Franklin is fired without cause after his first season, he would be due $680,000.  That number drops to $420,000 the following year.  The Contra Costa Times writes that “Buh, if fired without cause, would receive 100 percent of his base and talent fee for the remainder of his contract, making it essentially a guaranteed contract.”

Franklin could buy his way out of his contract after the first year with a $50,000 payment, a figure that drops to $25,000 a year later.  Buh’s buyout is $75,000 after Year One, then drops by $25,000 the last two years of his contract.

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

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As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.