While Assistant Coaching Salaries Continue to Rise, Ohio State Assistants Will Make Over $200,000 Less in 2017 Than they Did in 2016

By Kevin Harrish on May 17, 2017 at 7:40 pm
Kevin Wilson will make $650,000 in his first season at Ohio State.

Ohio State released a bevy of assistant coaching contracts on Wednesday afternoon, including those of the newly hired assistants, Kevin Wilson, Bill Davis and Ryan Day.

The school also released updated contracts for Greg Schiano, Kerry Coombs, Tony Alford and Zach Smith, all of whom received a raise from their 2016 salary. Larry Johnson is set to make $475,000 for the 2017 football season, the second of a 2-year deal he signed last spring.

Collectively, the assistant coaching staff will make $4.379 million in base salary in 2017, which is undoubtably a large sum of money, but it's over $200,000 less than the school paid its assistants last season. Ohio State's assistant coaching staff brought home a collective $4.583 million in 2016, which ranked seventh nationally.

For comparison's sake, Alabama will pay its assistants $6.5 million in 2017, Clemson will  pay $5.725 million and Michigan's total assistant coaches salary will be at least $4.928 million after it became the first school with three assistants making seven figures in January.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have never even had one assistant coach make over $1 million. Luke Fickell was the closest in 2016, when he made $754,500. Now, the highest paid assistant on Ohio State's payroll is Schiano, who will make a base salary of $700,000 in 2017. Thirty-one assistants from 27 different schools made more than $700,000 in 2016, and that number will surely go up in 2017.

Using the 2016 numbers from USA Today's assistant coaches salary database, since the 2017 salaries are not yet available from every school, Ohio State would now rank 12th nationally, falling five spots, if those numbers held true in 2017, which they will not.

2016 Combined Assistant Coaching Salaries
Rank School Combined Salary
1 LSU $5,781,500
2 Clemson $5,390,417
3 Alabama $5,320,000
4 Texas A&M $4,811,000
5 Georgia $4,675,000
6 Florida State $4,586,000
7 Texas $4,546,250
8 Tennessee $4,545,700
9 Florida $4,530,709
10 Auburn $4,456,250
11 Oklahoma $4,390,900
12 Ohio State (2017) $4,379,000

When all of the 2017 numbers come in (USA Today published its 2016 list in early December of last year), Ohio State will be considerably lower than 12th. As we already mentioned, Michigan's total salary will undoubtedly be higher, Ole Miss will likely increase its assistant salary pool, and most schools around the nation are paying their assistants more, not less.

Of course, there are reasons why Ohio State's total assistant salary will be so relatively low in 2017. New assistants typically cost less than gradual pay raises to existing ones, and the Buckeyes hired two new assistants to replace their three highest-paid assistants in 2016.

Still, given the NFL experience of Schiano, Day and Davis as well as the NCAA head coaching experience of Schiano and Wilson, it seems the Buckeyes are getting a discount in 2017.

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