File this one under stories that should have been expected from a mile away. The football staff at Georgia, following up on an SEC title and appearance in the College Football Playoff national championship game, are getting bumps in pay. As a whole, the assistant coaching staff under head coach Kirby Smart will be paid roughly $2 million more than the staff received a year ago, according to a report from Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation.
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will see the biggest pay raise with of $900,000 to bump his total pay up to $1.5 million. That would make him one of the top assistant coaches in assistant coaching salaries. Based off last year’s USA Today salary database, Tucker would be the fifth highest-paid assistant coach, and that may even be higher now given some of the offseason changes in the assistant coaching pool. Last year, four assistant coaches received a total pay of at least $1.5 million, and three of them were in the SEC (LSU’s Dave Arranda and Matt Canada, and Texas A&M’s John Chavis; Clemson’s Brent Venables was the outlier).
Keeping in line with another growing trend when it comes to power conference programs and how much money is budgeted for the football staff, Georgia will give strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair a $150,000 raise from his previous contract of $300,000.
What has not been finalized, publicly at least, is what the future holds for the contract of Smart. After a wildly successful season, Smart is expected to receive a raise as well as Georgia continues to build something special under his leadership after just two seasons. Smart was paid a base salary of $3.75 million last year, according to USA Today’s salary database, which made him the 9th highest-paid coach in the SEC in 2017. That is fair, considering Smart was a first-time head coach and other coaches in the conference had more head coaching experience, but Smart has quickly proven himself among his peers in the conference and is likely to move up the SEC coaching salary ranking quite quickly. Nick Saban (Alabama) and now Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M) may still be on another playing field in terms of salary, but Smart should manage to move up closer to the high-end of the SEC salary spectrum.
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
Alabama’s coaching staff has been undergoing some changes this offseason with a handful of coaches leaving to pursue other opportunities. That means Nick Saban has had some vacancies to fill on his staff in Tuscaloosa. Former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker looks to be the next addition to the staff.
According to Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated, via Twitter, Alabama will add Tucker to the coaching staff as a secondary coach. When not filling the role of defensive coordinator throughout his coaching career, coaching defensive backs is what Tucker has done most often. Tucker has coached defensive backs for Miami-Ohio, LSU, Ohio State, the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Considering how some teams managed to expose Alabama’s secondary at times in 2014, bringing in a coach with that level of expertise seems to be a good fit to the coaching staff for Saban and Alabama.
Alabama was generally a middle-of-the-pack team when it came to pass defense in 2014. The Crimson Tide defense had 11 interceptions and allowed 19 passing touchdowns, while allowing 226.0 passing yards per game in 2014.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is also expected to take on coaching inside linebackers as the staff shuffles responsibilities.
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.