photo credit: Chris Parent

LSU is not the first college football program to push its assistant salary pool past the $6 million mark, but the Tigers are the first of a different kind. Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State handed out massive raises as job-well-dones after successful seasons. LSU — 9-4 with a Citrus Bowl loss to Notre Dame in Ed Orgeron’s first full season — pushed past the $6 million barrier is the result of market forces.

As detailed by the Baton Rouge Advocate’s Ross Dellenger, LSU moved to a $6.405 million salary pool — just barely behind Georgia for fourth nationally, with Alabama’s 2018 salary pool still to come — largely busted past the $6 million mark thanks to the NCAA-approved hiring of a 10th assistant, designated as safeties coach Bill Busch. With his $375,000 salary removed, LSU’s returning nine spots will earn $6.03 million, a $225,000 bump (3.9%) from 2017.

The 2018 staff is headlined by Dave Aranda’s record breaking $2.5 million salary, the cost of doing business to fend off a hard charge from Texas A&M. But that raise was perfectly offset by offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s departure and Orgeron’s move to promote Steve Ensminger from tight ends coach; Canada earned $1.5 million, while Ensminger commands $800,000. Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes left to become the offensive coordinator at BYU, and his replacement, James Cregg, netted a smaller salary by $50,000.

Defensive line coach Pete Jenkins, who was not on a contract but earned $25,000 a month, did not return; outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson moved to defensive line with no raise and Greg McMahon was elevated from a special teams analyst to a full-time special teams coordinator at a $375,000 salary. Corey Raymond netted a $25,000 raise after decreasing his on-field responsibilities; after handling the entire secondary in ’17, Raymond will coach cornerbacks this fall while Busch takes the safeties.

In addition to his $2.5 million salary, Aranda actually enjoys greater job security than his titular boss. He remains under contract through the 2021 season, while Orgeron’s $3.5 million a year deal expires after 2020. Ensimger, Busch, Cregg, Tommie Robinson, McMahon and Raymond are all on deals that run through the 2019 campaign, while Jerry Sullivan, Mickey Joseph and Johnson’s contracts expire after this coming season.

Coach 2017 Salary 2018 Salary Raise
Asst. head coach/defensive coordinator Dave Aranda $1.8 million $2.5 million $700,000 (38.9%)
Offensive coordinator/QBs coach Steve Ensminger $1.5 million* $800,000 -$700,000 (-46.7%)
Asst. head coach/running backs coach Tommie Robinson $575,000 $600,000 $25,000 (4.3%)
Offensive line coach James Cregg $525,000* $475,000 -$50,000 (-9.5%)
Passing game coordinator Jerry Sullivan $300,000* $450,000 $150,000 (50%)
Cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond $400,000 $425,000 $25,000 (6.3%)
Special teams coordinator Greg McMahon $300,000* $375,000 $75,000 (25%)
Safeties coach Bill Busch N/A $375,000 N/A
Wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph $225,000 $225,000 None
Defensive line coach Dennis Johnson $180,000 $180,000 None
Total $5.805 million $6.405 million $600,000 (10.3%)

* – Salary earned at that position on 2017 LSU staff