UF coaches overpaid or underpaid?


There has been quite a buzz going around college football the past few months over the enormous salaries some of the prominent coordinators have reeled in, especially Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who was given $750,000 a year not to take a head coaching job elsewhere. That salary was in the head-coach ballpark not that many years ago, and it’s huge money for a coordinator.

Smart wasn’t the only one cashing in. In the SEC alone, four of the defensive coordinators will be making $700,000 or more in 2010 — Smart, South Carolina’s Ellis Johnson, LSU’s John Chavis and Georgia’s Todd Grantham.

From a Florida perspective, this begs the question: Is new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin overpaid or underpaid with his annual salary of $440,000? Austin’s salary was revealed Tuesday, along with the new contracts of the other UF assistants.

Based on what those other SEC coordinators are being paid, Austin definitely is not being overpaid. One could make the argument that since he’s never been a coordinator (he was the secondary coach with the Arizona Cardinals), the Gators are throwing too much money at him. But, hey, this is Florida, and if Grantham (a former defensive assistant with the Cowboys) is making $700,000 at Georgia, then Austin should be getting at least $440,000 at Florida. The bottom line is UF has given its new defensive coordinator a contract at or below the going market. So, no, he’s definitely not making too much money.

The same goes for the rest of the coaching staff. Steve Addazio is making $375,000, which is very good but not great money for an offensive coordinator. Addazio will add considerably to his 2010 salary after UF finalizes how much it should pay Addazio for some extra duties he’s taken on in the last five months, including replacing Urban Meyer on the Gator Gathering tour.

The next-highest paid coaches are defensive line coach and assistant head coach Dan McCarney ($330,000 a year) and co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chuck Heater ($305,000). McCarney and Heater received raises of about $50,000 each, along with other returning coaches Scot Loeffler ($240,000) and Brian White ($240,000).

UF’s other new assistants — Zach Azzanni, Stan Drayton and D.J. Durkin — also are making $240,000 a year.

Among the UF contract numbers that came out Tuesday, there was nothing that jumped out at you as being stunning or outlandish, one way or the other.

The most impressive aspect to me is that the lowest-paid coaches are making $240,000 a year. That was coordinator money in the league just a few years ago.

UF is paying its coaches handsomely — and fairly.

It’s a lot of money (not as much as Alabama is shelling out), but this is an elite program with an elite head coach who has shown he knows how to hire elite assistants.


  1. We’ll see if Teryl Austin is being overpaid or underpaid when we play ‘Bama on October 2nd. He better put 8 people in the box… or it could be the SEC championship game all over again.. ugh

  2. These coaches do not work a 40 hour work week. They put in a lot of time at a high stress job. They are responsible for a high dollar program ($100 million/yr.) I am not certain but, I believe that they are not paid out of the school’s general fund. If all of their salaries were doubled they would still be worth it. We Gators have the best program in the nation and I like it that way.
    Go Gators!

  3. I agree that our coaches are being paid fairly. It’s rediculous what Georgia paid for their new unproven DC. I would like to see more incentive type pay plans based on their individual position area production and tied to the overall success of the team and program.

  4. Head coaches? Way too much. Coordinators? Ridiculous. Assistant Coaches? Unbelievable.

    I love college athletics, but in our current economic climate, these raises and the spiraling costs to fans is unacceptable.

  5. Comparing them to the professors pay at UF would lead one to think they are all clearly overpaid. Maybe we shouldn’t call them universities anymore because the priority clearly is not about education anymore.

  6. i say if you get a good coach that helps u get to and win the nc then u pay him whatever it takes to get him to stay. if he starts slackin then u take some of it back till he gets back to where he was. whats a few hundred k when your consistently winning nc’s? the $ uf gets for that more than makes up for it. go gators, we should shoot for the highest paid staff in all of college fb. alabamas not going away anytime soon from the looks of it. unless we want to end up 2nd fiddle to those turds every year we need to ante up or the best will go there. theres not much loyalty anymore, its all about the money.

  7. First off, it doesn’t beg the question, it raises the question.

    Second off, as long as the UF athletic department is operating so far in the black and donating millions of dollars a year to UF academics (in this economy, no less), then I don’t think anyone is in any position to call any UF coaches overpaid. Jeremy Foley has run a championship program, but he’s also run a very fiscally responsible program, and as long as the athletic program remains self sufficient (and then some!), I think it’s pretty safe to say that UF’s coaching salaries are just fine. Sure, UF’s coaches might make far more than UF’s professors or administrators… but they bring in even more revenue, still.

  8. While these are darn good salaries, we need to be ready to bump the coordinators if we have another banner season.
    While I am all in favor of guys that leave UF for a step up, from position coach to Coordinator, or Coordinator to HC, I DON’T want to see great coaches leave for the same position elsewhere because more money was available.
    UF is a program of a quality sufficient to demand coaches in the top 5 of their profession (at their position), but then must also pay them like coaches in the top 5 of their profession.

  9. PHILLY, the athletic programs, football in particular, allow the professors to be paid even more than they would already.
    Allow me to quote a line uttered by James Caan in the movie “The Program”, “When’s the last time 90,000 people showed up to watch a chemistry test?”
    In other words, STFU with your silliness.

  10. Tracy you are absolutely wrong. Athletics revenues at UF are completely separate from Education costs. The biggest misconception is that alot of the football money gets funneled back into academics, not true. UAA (Univ Athletic Association) makes two donations a year to our academic side and its not very much. Sad but true, UF football is merely a professional sports franchise masked as a University.

  11. Didn’t the Athletic Dept (UAA) just give $6 Mil to the Academic side?? Thought I read that over the last month or so. Please correct me if I’m wrong. If so, I would certainly call that a significant amount. Also don’t forget that athletic achievement encourages and inspires academic donations to the institution as well as alumni involvement and continual contact with the university.

  12. Its sad to see the poor use of grammar and the prevalent use of short cut language on a college site. Alot is not a word, fyi.

    Sorry for the pet peeve…

    I think coaches should get paid with a base and then a performance incentive…just my $.02

  13. In 2008, UF football brought in $66 million. It costs roughly $19 mil to run the program with about $6-7 mil of that being coach salaries. To me that is a pretty good investment. As for the argument that coaches should make more than professors. Well, I don’t see professors working 24/7 almost 365 days a year and I don’t see professors actually making the school any money. I am not degrading their positions, they should be given all the credit in the world for what they do. However, you can’t pay all your professors a million dollars a year and expect to keep your university operating when the professors don’t bring in any money.

  14. The College of Engineering, Health & Human Performance gets a lot of funding from research grants and consulting fees. The Athletic Department gets most of its funding and revenue from sources like CBS, ESPN, Nike, Booster Donations, Season Ticket Holders, and merchandising. I realize the French department may be limited in the amount of alumni donations and research grants they receive. Education and Athletic programs who rely solely on a budget provided by the government are poor performers. Have you ever heard of UNF getting a large grant from Lockheed Martin to research UAV technology? Have you ever heard of UWF getting a large grant to perform cancer research? Has UCF ever played in a BCS bowl game televised on network TV? In case you have not noticed, university athletic programs that excel on the field / court also have affluent and successful alumni from high ranking academic programs who give generously and purchase season ticket packages.

  15. I think our coaches should be compensated at the highest level, once they prove they are worth the money. I agree that salaries should be tied to some type of performance based merit pay. The UAA earns more money when the team does well and the coaches should be rewarded for putting the team in a position to make the additional funds.

    Also, you can’t compare coaches and professors when it comes to salaries. The UAA is a priv

  16. I think our coaches are worth every penny. We should be among the top when it comes to compensation. Also, you can’t compare the salaries of coaches with professors. For one, the UAA is a private entity that generates revenue to cover its own expenses. In fact, they do such a good job that they give money to the school. Professors are liability, cost wise, and a lot of them are already overpaid. They spend as much time pushing liberal agendas than they do teaching. I personally had issues with some of them who didn’t like my conservative beliefs in papers I wrote. So, maybe some of the liberal organizations should kick in some money to help with salaries, like NIKE and some of the other corporations do with football. I do agree, however, that salaries should be tied into some type of performance based measurements. If the team does good, the UAA makes more money and some of it should go to the staff, not only coaches, that put the team in a position to make the additional funds.

  17. Don, you are only partially correct! Most athletic programs are a liability to schools. UF is one of the few making a profit. That profit, like the $6million recently given to the school, went to salaries. You have to look at the big picture and realize that we are fortunate at UF – our program makes money, instead of sucking money out of academics. Plus, the football program funds all of those other sports for females that do not make enough money to support themselves.

    gatordad – People comment on this site for entertainment – we’re not here to take a grammar or spelling test. So, get a life and worry about something that concerns people.

  18. Performance base pay should always be the basis for a coaching compensation package. Regardless of your position, if your position increases in production and overall contribution to the entire organization (team), then there should be a carrot for you to achieve. The Nike contracts are sources for the carrots, but the pay scale should always be flexible, both up and down. Competition among coaches to improve their positions is a very healthy thing. Base pay them low but performance pay them the highest in the county. GO GATORS

  19. Gatordad Generally people who try and correct a minor “typo” when debating obviously have nothing of substance to “push back” with. Playground tactics, very sad. If you are a “Gator dad” your values seem to be all jacked up if you put the value of an assistant coach’s salary ahead of the cuts in the academic side of your kid’s school.
    TampaDave 6 million versus the total revenue generated is very minor. I think most of the time people forget this is a university, here for higher education. Football is merely an added bonus, but when the education side is getting shafted and the sports side is flourishing there are clearly problems. Not sure if any of you are alumni or have any ties to the school besides bringing your RV 7 times a year to watch a game but people who truly care about this school are more concerned with the massive cuts in various departments rather than if an assistant deserves an extra $100,000.

  20. Don, I usually stay out of frays between people but I know that TampaDavis is right on. I was a small donor until 1995 and then I got fully on board. Why, because I was again proud to be a Gator (73) due to our athletic achievements. Last I checked Stanford does very well in athletics and they seem to do OK in the academic world. I can also tell you that my daughter did not get into UF as an out of state student with a 4.0+ GPA, why to many 4.3+ students were trying to get in. Why do you think our reputation, increased donations and interest is at an all time high – Athletics.

  21. So, since the acadmic side isn’t sucking enough money out of tax payers and students we should do something to ruin our athletic program, so it will be in the same shape? Think about what you are saying! I could see a problem if the school’s budget supported athletics; but, it is not the case. Fortunately, our football program generates enough revenue to be an asset to the school. Look at the money Tebow has made the university. I don’t think that would have happened if he was sitting in Basket Weaving class, instead of playing football. Academics is important, but sports have been a vital part of school pride which leads to dedication and loyalty – which leads to monetary gifts! It’s all relative!

  22. Don, yes, academics are suffering. Yes, athletics are flourishing. Since athletics aren’t taking any money from academics (in fact, they are GIVING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to academics), I fail to see the connection. You’ve got two separate entities. One is struggling, the other is helping out the one that’s struggling, and you’re railing against the flourishing entity because… why, exactly? Like I said, UF Academics are better off because of UF Athletics, not worse off.

    Now, you could say that the relative states of the two programs is a sad commentary on our society and our priorities… but there is no justification for claims that the state of academics is a sad commentary on athletics.

  23. As a taxpayer, I may have some objections to the high salaries, tenure, and benefits given to many in academia, but I do not object to market value pay packages of those in the sports programs. As a minor donor to several merit scholarships, I know I probably would not contribute were it not for the appreciation of the efforts and skill of those in sports – allowing me to enjoy the fame and fun of the UF. “Sports” envy by some “academics” is revealing, sad, and pathetic.