The legal battle between Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis and his former employers will not be settled in a Texas court. Chavis had his lawsuit against LSU dismissed by a judge in Texas determining the lawsuit has not grounds to be fought in the state of Texas. Instead, the lawsuit will be settled in the state of Louisiana.
This little legal squabble over the contract of Chavis has been going on for a while. As a refresher, Chavis and LSU reached an agreement for a one-year contract extension last November. Not long after that, Chavis was hired by Texas A&M instead. His hiring at Texas A&M was made official in February. LSU is pursuing a $400,000 buyout from Chavis, which the former defensive coordinator says he is not on the hook for. Chavis believes Texas A&M owes LSU that six-figure buyout. Texas A&M thinks Chavis should pay it.
This is not the only legal battle going on involving an assistant coach entering the 2015 season. This fall will see Texas and Oklahoma State do battle in a court room over the employment status of Texas assistant coach Joe Wickline. The offensive line coach was hired by Texas away from Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys believe Wickline’s change in jobs was a lateral move in staffing. If a court agrees, Oklahoma State would be owed some money.
Don’t worry. Football games that matter will soon be played.
Things may not be looking all that great for LSU in the headlines lately, but things certainly have gone slightly better in the courtroom. The victory came against former defensive coordinator John Chavis, in that the lawsuit filed by LSU against Chavis will continue while another legal battle between Chavis and Texas A&M is ongoing.
“The court is concerned there is any way the Texas court can keep this case,” State District Judge Timothy Kelley said, according to The Advocate, with regard to the lawsuit in Texas. “I don’t see how they can have jurisdiction.”
Last November Chavis and LSU reached an agreement for a one-year contract extension. Not long after that though, Chavis packed his bags and headed to Texas A&M instead. His hiring at Texas A&M was made official in February. Now LSU is pursuing a $400,000 buyout from Chavis, which the former defensive coordinator says he is not on the hook for. Chavis believes Texas A&M owes LSU that six-figure buyout. Texas A&M thinks Chavis should pay it. It’s a bit complicated.
Right now the parties involved are having a legal battle to determine which state will get to host the lawsuit, which is the legal equivalent of flipping a coin for home-field advantage. Eitgher way, LSU is going to get paid $400,000. It is just a matter of that money comes directly from Chavis or Texas A&M. Or perhaps some sort of settlement could come into play, with Chavis and Texas A&M each paying some part of a reduced buyout. Who knows where this goes from here.
It was a mild surprise to see Louisville find a way to keep defensive coordinator Todd Grantham when the Oakland Raiders of the NFL came calling. As you might have suspected, Louisville made it worth it to stick around.
Grantham and Louisville reworked the terms of his contract as defensive coordinator to increase the pay to $1.4 million per year, according to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. That places Grantham in the upper echelon of assistant coaching salaries, even more so than before. USA Today reports Grantham was being paid $975,000 in 2014. Grantham was the third highest-paid assistant in the ACC, but Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris accepted a position as SMU’s head coach.
Auburn is paying new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp a total between $1.6 million and $1.8 million. Texas A&M will pay new defensive coordinator John Chavis $1.5 million. With his new contract in place, Grantham will be floating around or just ahead of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Alabama offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster also recently had a contract extension that is expected to keep him among the highest-paid assistant coach in the country.
This new contract is a latest example of the increased ability Louisville has to funding its football program. Long references as a basketball school, the commitment to improving the football program that was initiated years ago continues to take strides in becoming more fo a football school as well. The funding from boosters is one thing, but the move to the ACC has its advantages as well with a larger bowl revenue split and more television revenue to incorporate into the budget. Because of these changes, Louisville can afford to pay football assistants on the same level as other power conference opponents. Louisville has been growing up quite nicely in this respect.
When John Chavis left the LSU Tigers to become the defensive coordinator of the Texas A&M Aggies, he walked away from a $1.3 million contract.
Chavis reportedly wanted his annual salary increased to $1.7 million to make him, along with Auburn’s Will Muschamp, the nation’s highest paid defensive coordinator.
When LSU brass decided that wasn’t going to happen, Chavis refused to sign a new contract. Instead, Texas A&M stepped up to the plate and lured him away to College Station.
Whether or not Texas A&M matched Chavis’ asking price, the assistant coach won’t see the full amount of his contract next season due to a buyout in his previous contract with LSU.
Chavis owes LSU $400,00 as part of the provision, according to The Shreveport Times‘ Glenn Guilbeau. The school intends to pursue the money it is owed.
“I’m not sure if we’ll get it, but we’re going to try to get it,” LSU board member Ronald Anderson told Guilbeau. “That was part of his contract. It’s his obligation.”
Whether or not LSU receives the payment may determine the future of former defensive line coach Brick Haley. Haley is currently on staff, but he was replaced by Ed Orgeron. Unlike Chavis, Haley signed a new contract offered after the season. However, his status along with the $450,000 contract remain uncertain until Chavis’ situation is finalized.
Haley is currently serving as a staff “intern.”
“I’m told that by June, if he decides to stay, they’ll decide what he’ll be doing and that title would change,” Anderson said.
The search for LSU’s next defensive coordinator continues in Baton Rouge, and it may have taken an interesting turn recently into enemy territory. One potential candidate LSU has reportedly had contact with is Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has also been contacted about the job vacancy as well.
Let’s start with the NFL option, which may be the more likely of the two. Tucker is not likely to remain with the Bears amid a season of change in the front office and the pressure rising to elevate the Bears to a team worthy of competing with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in 2015. The Bears finished the 2014 NFL season ranked 30th in total defense in the league, so a change at defensive coordinator is expected to happen. Tucker has been an assistant coach at LSU before, coaching the defensive backs at LSU in 2000 before moving to Ohio State for a few seasons en route to the NFL. Tucker has been in the NFL since 2005 with stops in Cleveland, Jacksonville and, most recently, Chicago. If he is on the market, he could remain in the NFL in some capacity, but his pending free agency is something that has caught LSU’s eyes and it could be a chance to regroup as a defensive coordinator.
Now, what about Smart?
Of the two names recently reported to be connected to the job search by The Advocate, Smart is certainly the one that should raise more eyebrows. Smart is a seasoned defensive coordinator at Alabama, which makes moving to LSU nothing more than a lateral move at best, unless the Tigers happen to cut a nicer paycheck. LSU will not be afraid to do that, although Smart is already earning $1.35 million per season as a member of Nick Saban‘s coaching staff. Smart’s salary was just slightly more than what LSU’s previous defensive coordinator, John Chavis, was earning. Smart is also a previous LSU assistant, coaching the defensive backs in 2004 in his one season at LSU.
Odds are probably not very good LSU can manage to lure Smart away from Alabama, although it would be a huge coaching change within the SEC, and more specifically the SEC West. But LSU has the resources to go out and be connected to any number of good, quality options. Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop was previously considered a popular target for LSU, but Shoop confirmed last week he is sticking with James Franklin at Penn State.
LSU also has former Florida and Illinois head coach Ron Zook on the radar.