Oregon may have dropped the first game of the Mario Cristobal era on Saturday, but the Ducks came out of the weekend with reason to feel energized about the future of the program. According to a report from Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, Oregon has reached a deal with defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt to keep him on the staff through the 2021 season.
As reported by Feldman, Leavitt will be paid $1.7 million per year for the next four seasons, making him one of the highest-paid coordinators in the country. LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is paid $1.8 million and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is paid $1.7 million according to a record of coaching salaries compiled by USA Today. Leavitt had been the 12th highest-paid coordinator in college football prior to this significant bump in pay to make him the third highest-paid coordinator in the country.
Keeping Leavitt in Eugene is a big win for Cristobal as he takes over the job as head coach. Leavitt had been expected to be a target of former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart as he assembles his new staff at Florida State. Leavitt had been discussed as a potential target for other jobs as well, with one report suggesting he may have been sought after as a replacement for Bill Snyder at Kansas State.
Leavitt played a big role in turning the Oregon defense around in just one season. Inheriting a defense that ranked 115th in the nation in 2016, Leavitt transformed the Ducks into the 32nd-best defense in the country this season.
College football’s award season is coming quickly with semifinalists and finalists for various awards coming in the next few weeks. Among the awards is the Broyles Award, which recognizes the top assistant coach in college football. Today, the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation released its list of nominees for this year’s award. All 56 of them, which is sure to keep more SIDs busy this time of year.
No school has more than one assistant nominated for the award and previous winners of the award from the past five seasons are not eligible. Clemson’s Brent Venables won the award last year, for example, so he is not eligible this season. This list of nominees will be trimmed to 15 semifinalists later this season, and that list will be cut down to five finalists for the award.
The Broyles Award was first awarded in 2010 to Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Malzahn is currently the head coach of the Tigers. In total, five Broyles Award winners have gone on to be a head coach, with four of those currently holding head coaching positions. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi (2013, Michigan State defensive coordinator), Texas head coach Tom Herman (2014, Ohio State offensive coordinator), and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley (2015, Oklahoma offensive coordinator) currently hold head coaching jobs. Bob Diaco, who won the award in 2012 while at Notre Dame, went on to be named the head coach at UConn and currently is an assistant with Nebraska.
2017 Broyles Award Nominees
- Alabama – Brian Daboll, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- Arizona – Rod Smith, Co–Offensive Coordinator
- Arizona State – Phil Bennett, Defensive Coordinator
- Arkansas State – Brian Early, Defensive Line Coach
- Auburn – Kevin Steele, Defensive Coordinator
- Boise State – Andy Avalos, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Bowling Green State – Matt Brock, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- California – Beau Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
- Central Florida – Troy Walters, Offensive Coordinator
- Clemson – Tony Elliot, Co–Offensive Coordinator, Running Backs
- Eastern Michigan – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- FAU – Chris Kiffin, Defensive Coordinator
- FIU – Brent Guy, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Fresno State – Orlondo Steinauer, Defensive Coordinator
- Georgia – Mel Tucker, Defensive Coordinator
- Georgia State – Nate Fuqua, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
- Iowa State – Jon Heacock, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
- Kansas State – Sean Snyder, Special Teams Coordinator
- LSU – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator
- Memphis – Joe Lorig, Special Teams Coordinator; – Outside Linebackers
- Miami – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
- Michigan – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Michigan State – Harlon Barnett, Co–Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
- Mississippi State – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Missouri – Josh Heupel, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- NC State – Dwayne Ledford, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator
- North Texas – Graham Harrell, Offensive Coordinator
- Northwestern – Mike Hankwitz, Defensive Coordinator
- Notre Dame – Mike Elko, Defensive Coordinator
- Ohio State – Larry Johnson, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach
- Oklahoma – Bill Bedenbaugh, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- Oklahoma State – Mike Yurcich, Offensive Coordinator/QBs
- Ole Miss – Derrick Nix, Running Backs Coach
- Oregon – Jim Leavitt, Defensive Coordinator
- Penn State – Brent Pry, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- San José State – Bojay Filimoeatu, Linebackers Coach
- SMU – Joe Craddock, Offensive Coordinator
- South Carolina – Coleman Hutzler, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- Southern Miss – Tony Pecoraro, Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
- Stanford – Mike Bloomgren, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- Syracuse – Brian Ward, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- TCU – Chad Glasgow, Defensive Coordinator
- Temple – Jim Panagos, Defensive Line
- Texas – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Toledo – Brian Wright, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
- Troy – Vic Koenning, Defensive Coordinator
- U.S. Military Academy – Brent Davis, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- USC – Tee Martin, Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach
- Utah State – Mark Tommerdahl, Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs
- Virginia Tech – Bud Foster, Defensive Coordinator
- Wake Forest – Warren Ruggiero, Offensive Coordinator
- Washington – Pete Kwiatkowski, Defensive Coordinator
- Washington State – Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator / Secondary
- West Virginia – Tony Gibson, Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Western Kentucky – Clayton White, Defensive Coordinator
- Wisconsin – Jim Leonhard, Defensive Coordinator
The Broyles Award has trimmed down its list of candidates to five candidates. It would appear coaching defense was key this season, as four of the five candidates are defensive coordinators.
Jeremy Pruitt of Alabama, Brent Venables of Clemson, Jim Leavitt of Colorado and Don Brown of Michigan are the four defensive coordinators to make the finalist cut for the award for top assistant coach in college football. The lone offensive coordinator was Matt Canada of Pitt.
The winner of the 2016 Broyles Award will be announced on Tuesday, December 6. Last year’s recipient of the award was Oklahoma offensive cooridnator Lincoln Riley.