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Quick get-rich scheme: Join a college football coaching staff

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist
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If you want to get rich, and I mean, filthy rich, become an assistant coach on a big-time college football team.

Once the grinders, the coffee getters, the get-back coaches, college football assistants are now making a killing. They are getting wealthier as the country gets poorer. Their whistles are Gucci, their Under Armor gold plated, their bank accounts fat and sturdy.

Before taking the head job at Florida, Will Muschamp made over $900,000 as an assistant at Texas. (AP)  
Before taking the head job at Florida, Will Muschamp made over $900,000 as an assistant at Texas. (AP)  
Last year, Will Muschamp, then an assistant at Texas, made over $900,000 a season. The defensive coordinators at Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and LSU each make at least $700,000, according to USA Today. That's Randolph and Mortimer money.

The economy is in shambles, jobs are scarce, and teachers are getting laid off. Tax revenues are shrinking, budgets are collapsing, and the government is in massive debt. China owns us. Still, 26 college football assistants make $400,000 or more, twice as many who made that much in 2009.

They're in the assistant coaching business and, cousin, business is a-boomin'.

Somehow schools are finding the money to pay assistant coaches -- the assistants, mind you, not the head coaches -- millions upon millions even as some of these same schools are finding it difficult to keep teachers.

As the salaries of assistants climb, the outrage remains remarkably muted.

(And God forbid we pay the players.)

Big-time college football and basketball head coaches have long made obscene amounts of money, piggybacking off the shoulders of the players. Their lives are like Wall Street executives: exorbitant salaries, large bonuses, and multi-million dollar buyouts. Look at this analysis and tell me that isn't the case.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was paid a $3 million, 10-year anniversary bonus. That's some anniversary. What was the occasion? Curing polio? Head coaches rake it in. That goes without saying. The lowest paid of the top head coaches earn several million a year. Sure. Whatever.

But assistant coaches?

(And God forbid we pay the players.)

Assistant coaches do have more responsibilities than perhaps ever before. The head coach in waiting phenomenon has also raised their financial profiles. They deserve to be well compensated, but some of the salaries are getting totally out of control.

The monies are staggering. As many Americans struggle, the assistants are raking it in. Alabama's assistant coaching staff earned $3.2 million in 2010, up 20 percent from 2009.

Next was LSU ($3.1 million and up 15 percent,) followed by Texas ($3 million and 2.9 percent), Auburn ($2.9 million and 14 percent), Oklahoma ($2.7 million and 11 percent), Florida ($2.7 million and 39 percent), Georgia ($2.5 million and 25 percent), Oklahoma State ($2.5 million, 18 percent), and Clemson ($2.4 million, up 32 percent).

Tennessee was one of the few big-time football schools where assistant salaries fell, USA Today reported, but the assistants were still paid $2.7 million.

CBSSports.com then compared the salaries of assistants to the status of the impoverished states where they are coaching. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the ten poorest states in America are Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Montana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Louisiana.

So despite extreme poverty and busted budgets in places like Tennessee (fourth poorest) and Louisiana (10th poorest), some state schools are paying coaching staffs a great deal of money. In fact, salaries of assistants are increasing despite the worst recession in decades.

Oregon paid its assistant coaches $1.18 million in bonuses alone. Meanwhile, the state of Oregon is projecting a 2011 budget deficit of $378 million, Louisiana $108 million and Texas $4 billion.

The outrage? Non-existent.

(And God forbid we pay the players.)

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