Lost in the Shuffle

Amidst the high profile coaching changes, it's the assistant coaches that can be forgotten. At least one current Georgia Tech staffer will be in high demand as teams scramble to fill out their new staffs.

There's little doubt the landscape of college football has changed over the past decade. We have witnessed an unprecedented run on coaching changes this week as staffs are turning over at a record pace.

Having been a part of the Scout community on dozens of team message boards across the country, there is a common theme that sometimes waxes nostalgic for a simpler time with lower expectations. When six years without a losing record didn't mean you got fired. Where a man with five Big Ten Championships isn't "feeling the heat", etc...

Fans look at it as a symptom of today's "what have you done for me lately" mentality.

Things have changed in college sports the past decade and change, but it's a reflection of the shift in economics in the billion dollar business of NCAA Sports.

Expectations changed when the finances changed. No longer is the head coach of a prolific Division 1 program someone that everyman can relate to. He's now in a tax bracket typically relegated for entertainers.

Most Division 1 head coaches sign initial contracts that will set them up financially for life. On the low side of things, I'll keep the math easy, a five year deal at one million per is five million dollars. How long will it take you to earn five million dollars. 

Division 1 Head coaches earn every penny of that money. They oversee a multi-million dollar business that more than pays for itself.

But expectations changed when the finances changed.

However, there are literally dozens of people who aren't financially secure whose lives just got thrown into shambles this week, the assistant coaches.

While assistant coaches make a solid living, eclipsing the household income of the average American,  it's still a fraction of what the head coach makes. A position coach makes less than the coordinators. While 100K a year is nothing to sneeze at, typically a coach's family is a single income family because of the nomadic nature of the work. It's hard to have a spouse make partner in her law firm when he's moving every three years.

Assistant coaches know the nature of the business though. I spoke with a member of a recently removed staff yesterday, and he had this to say.

"It's the bad part of the business. We know that though. You're hired to be fired. It just gets tough on the families."

As staffs are getting pieced together all around the country, there are now dozens of free agents on the market. One of the men that will be most in demand is Georgia Tech's own Giff Smith.

Having a home grown, energetic recruiter that wasn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and battle the big boys in state for recruits paid immediate dividends for Georgia Tech last year.

Georgia Tech finished with the 15th ranked recruiting class in the country last year, and the early returns from that class were positive as players such as Morgan Burnett, Josh Nesbitt. Jonathan Dwyer, and D.J. Donley saw significant playing time as freshmen.

Having a coach like Smith on staff with deep Georgia connections would be a benefit to any staff in the southeast and beyond. Georgia and Ohio typically trade places as the state with the fourth most division one signees in the country. Texas, Florida, and California hold the top three spots. It's no coincidence that Georgia Tech's highest ranked class under Chan Gailey coincided with Smith's appointment to recruiting coordinator.

The coaching search for Georgia Tech will be an interesting one over the course of the next few weeks. Whoever is coming in could already have a key piece of his staff in place by fighting to keep Smith in Atlanta.
Giff Smith Bio

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