Earlier today we wrote about the challenging phenomenon the MAC faces in attempting to hire away assistants from programs inside power five conferences, when the simple act of accepting a MAC head job requires a $200,000 (or more) pay cut. Perhaps the most interesting nugget to emerge from that story:
Close to (or slightly more than) 100 FBS assistants are now making at least $400,000 a year.
Officially, USA Today lists 86 assistants at the $400,000 mark. But when you include major private universities not included in the study - USC, Notre Dame, Stanford, Miami, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU and Boston College, to name nine - we feel safe in upping the number to 100.
The number itself is staggering enough (seriously: 100!), but to really wrap our heads around the salary explosion enjoyed by college football assistants, let's take a look at a handful of case studies of Power Five coordinators from a half-decade ago to today:
Then: For helping lead Alabama to its first national championship since 1992, Smart was paid $360,000 in 2009.
Now: Without changing jobs, Smart is now the highest-paid defensive coordinator in college football. He made $1,150,350 in 2013.
Increase: 220 percent
Then: Upon leaving Tennessee for LSU at the end of the 2008 season, Chavis signed a multi-year deal worth $500,000 a year.
Now: Still in the same job, Chavis earned $1,116,667 in 2013. That's a 223 percent increase for staying in the same job.
Increase: 123 percent
Then: Venables received a nice 18.9 percent raise from the 2007 season to 2008, jumping from $265,000 to $315,000. He was by far the highest-paid assistant on Bob Stoops' staff.
Now: After leaving for Dabo Swinney's dream team in 2012 at Clemson, Venables had leaped all the way to $800,000 by 2013.
Increase: 154 percent
Then: As South Carolina's defensive coordinator, Johnson was paid $350,000 to help the Gamecocks go 7-6 in 2009.
Now: Two jobs later, Johnson netted $800,000 as Auburn's defensive coordinator
Increase: 129 percent
Then: After receiving an offer to join Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, Foster received a $50,000 raise to $350,000 to stay at Virginia Tech in 2008.
Now: Still at Virginia Tech, Foster made a modest $535,785 in 2013.
Increase: 53 percent