Chavis gets raise

Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis is joining an elite club.

Chavis has agreed to an offer that will pay him $300,000 per year, making him one of the highest paid assistants in the SEC. Chavis' new deal will be effective July 1. Chavis made $250,000 last year.

David Cutcliffe, UT's offensive coordinator, also makes $300,000.

Mike Hamilton, Tennessee's athletic director, said the salary pool for the assistant coaches will be $1.6 million. That averages out to $177,777 per coach. That's a quantum leap from where the Vols were just two years ago, when the average salary was less than $145,000.

New assistants Matt Luke and Kurt Roper will be paid between $125,000 and $135,000. The rest of the staff raises have yet to be determined, Hamilton said.

Cutcliffe and Chavis have two-year contracts. The other assistants operate on a one-year deal.

The $1.6 million pool for assistants ranks about third or fourth in the SEC, Hamilton said. Georgia's pool also is at $1.6 million, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Florida paid about $1.3 million, according to the Florida Times-Union.

LSU's assistants last year made $1.533 million even though the Tigers' coordinators – Jimbo Fisher and Bo Pelini – were the highest paid SEC aides at $400,000 last year under three-year contracts. LSU assistants are not expected to get a raise because Hurricane Katrina caused lost financial revenues in the football program.

Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring makes $330,000. Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez got a raise of $50,000 to $260,000. Alabama defensive coordinator Joe Kines makes $240,000.

Georgia offensive coordinator Neil Callaway makes $203,500. Georgia's Rodney Garner, assistant head coach/defensive line coach, got a bump to $231,000. He has interviewed with the New Orleans Saints for an assistant's job.

Georgia is one of the few SEC schools that has three assistants making over $200,000.

It is not known what Auburn pays its assistants, although offensive coordinator Al Borges and defensive coordinator Will Muschamp are believed to make more than $200,000.

UT's Biggest Losers

Cutcliffe wants a more athletic offensive line and quicker wide receivers.

That's why he's asked players at those positions to drop some weight. They already have.

Johnny Long, UT's strength and conditioning coach, said receiver Jayson Swain has gone from 212 to 205 while Robert Meachem has also lost about seven pounds.

Long said offensive tackle Arron Sears has dropped from 335 to 328.

Two freshmen linemen who were redshirted last year have had significant losses. Offensive lineman Chris Scott has lost from about 370 to 325. Defensive lineman Dan Williams has gone from 350 to 310.

Long said he thought too much was made of UT's offensive line averaging 332 per man. He said Albert Toeaina's 360 skewed the average. Long also said that 290 of Toeaina's pounds were lean muscle mass, meaning Toeaina wasn't carrying much excessive weight.

Vols Failed to Get 2 In-State Prospects

Of the Knoxville News-Sentinel list of top 25 football prospects, Tennessee signed three of the top six and offered only two that went elsewhere.

No. 1 Brandon Warren of Alcoa went to Florida State and No. 3 Craig Cooper of Memphis went to Miami.

Tennessee did not offer Preston Brown of Antioch (he signed with Oklahoma State), Mike Berry of Brentwood (Auburn), Tremayne Coger of Columbia (Alabama), four Ole Miss signees – Cassius Vaughan, Cecil Frison, Brandon Jackson and LaDerrick Vaughn – or South Carolina signee Clark Gaston.

The Vols came close to offering Berry, Coger, Jackson and Gaston.

Tubby's Take at Kentucky

We recently reported that Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith makes $2.2 million per year.

Check that. Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader said Smith signed an eight-year deal two years ago that escalates to $2.2 million in 2010-11. The first year of the deal was $1.5 million. This season, Smith is making $1.7 million.

NOTEBOOK: UT receivers coach Trooper Taylor said he's not interested in going to Georgia, despite published reports to the contrary. Taylor said he's had inquiries about other jobs but wants to stay at UT. … Tennessee signee Gerald Williams, a linebacker from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., has been using a tutor in an effort to pass a standardized test. Williams has the necessary GPA in the required core classes to be eligible.

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