Assistant Salaries

Comparing the finances of college athletic programs can be problematic because different schools and different states use different accounting methods. What might be deemed an athletic expense in Virginia is an academic side expense in Texas. One place where comparing numbers works well is in the compensation for the NCAA allowed assistant coaches.

According to numbers compiled by USA Today, Arkansas State currently ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference in spending for assistant coaches in the NCAA permitted on-field positions. AState’s total spending on assistant football coaches of $1011,800 is $52,700 less than Louisiana Lafayette. Georgia State is third with total pay of $922,800. Troy is fourth at $908,985 but the university has said it intends to give new head coach Neal Brown the largest assistant coach budget in the conference.

At the other end of the Sun Belt, Idaho has the smallest budget at $699,088 just behind Louisiana Monroe. ULM’s assistants made a combined $724,300.

Walt Bell at $205,000 and Glen Elarbee at $200,000 are the two highest paid assistants in the Sun Belt. Another six assistants around the conference make $150,000 a year or more. AState defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen is the league’s 9th highest paid assistant at $145,000.

New Mexico State with the league’s third lowest assistant coach spending at $757,090 has two of the league’s ten highest paid assistants. Gregg Brandon the offensive coordinator is paid $181,374 and defensive coordinator Larry Coyer receives $150,000.

Compared to other leagues.

The Mid-American Conference wins the frugal award. No school in the conference is paying a million a year in assistant salaries. While the 11 member Sun Belt has eight assistants making $150,000 a year or more, the 13 member MAC has only four. Northern Illinois leads the MAC in assistant pay, but would rank fourth in the Sun Belt.

Conference USA. Only two CUSA assistants have higher pay than AState’s Walt Bell. WKU’s Nick Holt who makes $303,000 and MTSU defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix is paid $287,600. Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater (great football name!) is paid $202,656 and Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg receives $201,456. Seven CUSA schools have higher assistant pay than AState. The gap between the top paying CUSA school (UTEP) and AState is $155,575. The schools below AState are Louisiana Tech, WKU, UAB, Old Dominion, FAU, Texas-San Antonio. Rice salaries are unknown since they are not subject to Freedom of Information requests.

Numbers from the American Athletic Conference are scant. Temple (like Penn State) does not have to disclose under state law while SMU, Tulane, and Tulsa as private schools are exempt from FOI. Among those with published numbers, there are 30 assistants in the AAC making $200,000 or more. East Carolina has the smallest assistant salaries among those with published numbers and they pay $407,650 more than AState.

The Mountain West has 16 assistants paid $200,000 or more. All the Mountain West schools have higher assistant budgets than AState. Utah State has the closest budget to AState, outspending the Red Wolves by $80,847.