When Ohio State announced that Ryan Day would replace Urban Meyer as the head coach of the football team at the end of last season, Day and athletic director Gene Smith were both adamant that they wanted to keep the program’s existing infrastructure in place.
What did they mean by that? In large part, they meant that they wanted to keep the program’s key support staffers in place, including assistant athletic director for sports performance Mickey Marotti, associate athletic director and general manager of football operations Brian Voltolini and assistant athletic director of player personnel Mark Pantoni, among others.
Ohio State has demonstrated its commitment to those key support staffers by paying top dollar to keep them around, including renewed contracts and raises for each of those three program leaders this offseason.
Marotti, by a substantial margin, is the highest-paid member of the support staff. To be more specific, he’s also paid more than five of Ohio State’s 10 on-field assistant coaches. As first reported last week by USA TODAY’s Steve Berkowitz, Marotti is set to make $735,000 this season, a raise of $121,940 from last season. The raise makes Marotti the second-highest-paid strength and conditioning coach in the country, behind only Iowa’s Chris Doyle, who is set to make just under $800,000 this season, according to Berkowitz.
That’s reflective of the fact that Marotti’s role in the program goes well beyond simply being a strength coach. Marotti is viewed by many within the program as a secondary head coach, and his continued presence with the Buckeyes is vital to maintaining a smooth transition from the Meyer era to the Day era.
It’s also reflective of the fact that Marotti’s role at Ohio State has expanded well beyond the football program. As the assistant athletic director for sports performance, Marotti now oversees Ohio State’s entire staff of more than 20 strength and conditioning coaches, who combine to work with all 37 of Ohio State’s varsity sports teams.
Voltolini, who is responsible for overseeing all of the football program’s behind-the-scenes operations, is set to receive a salary of $237,587 in 2019, a raise of $11,314 from his previous salary. Pantoni, who leads Ohio State’s recruiting department, is set to make an even $200,000 in 2019, up $12,750 from his previous salary.
“I got the ultimate respect for Mark,” Day said of Pantoni in December. “I think he's as good as there is in the business. He's really talented at evaluating the players. He works really hard in pushing his staff. I think that what we do with our creative team, what we do with communicating with the student-athletes and the recruits is as good as anybody in the country, and he heads that up.”
Marotti, Voltolini and Pantoni were all promoted to their current titles as either associate or assistant athletic directors in 2018.
Marotti’s new contract, which he signed in March, is a four-year deal set to run through Jan. 31, 2023, pending Board of Trustees approval later this month. Voltolini and Pantoni’s new contracts, signed in February, are both one-year deals set to run through Jan. 31, 2020.
All three of them have been at Ohio State since 2012, Meyer’s first season at Ohio State, after previously working for Meyer at Florida.
Like each of Ohio State’s on-field football coaches, Marotti, Voltolini and Pantoni are entitled to a bonus package that includes 8.5 percent of their base salaries for a Big Ten East championship, 4.25 percent for a Big Ten Championship Game win, 17 percent for a New Year’s Six bowl game appearance, 4.25 percent for a non-playoff bowl game and at least nine wins and 21.25 percent for a College Football Playoff berth, which increases to 25.5 percent for a national championship game berth.
|Coach||Title||2019 Salary||Contract Length|
|RYAN DAY||HEAD COACH||$4,500,000||5 YEARS|
|GREG MATTISON||CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR||$1,100,000||2 YEARS|
|MIKE YURCICH||PASSING GAME COORDINATOR AND QUARTERBACKS COACH||$950,000||2 YEARS|
|KEVIN WILSON||OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR AND TIGHT ENDS COACH||$950,000||2 YEARS|
|JEFF HAFLEY||CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR AND SECONDARY COACH||$950,000||2 YEARS|
|LARRY JOHNSON||ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH AND DEFENSIVE LINE COACH||$900,000||1 YEAR|
|MICKEY MAROTTI||ASSISTANT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR FOR SPORTS PERFORMANCE||$735,000||4 YEARS|
|TONY ALFORD||RUNNING BACKS COACH AND ASST. HC FOR OFFENSE||$600,000||1 YEAR|
|GREG STUDRAWA||OFFENSIVE LINE COACH||$600,000||1 YEAR|
|AL WASHINGTON||LINEBACKERS COACH||$500,000||2 YEARS|
|MATT BARNES||SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR AND ASST. SECONDARY COACH||$350,000||2 YEARS|
|BRIAN HARTLINE||WIDE RECEIVERS COACH||$345,000||2 YEARS|
|BRIAN VOLTOLINI||ASSOC. AD/GENERAL MANAGER OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS||$237,587||1 YEAR|
|MARK PANTONI||ASSISTANT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL||$200,000||1 YEAR|
Marotti’s contract includes a $100,000 buyout that he would be required to pay Ohio State if he chose to leave for a strength and conditioning job at another Power 5 school, Notre Dame or BYU before the end of his contract term. All three of their contracts prohibit them from contacting or recruiting any high school athletes recruited or contacted by Ohio State, unless that prospect has already been recruited or contacted by their new institution before they left Ohio State, for a period of one year if any of them choose to leave Ohio State for a job at another school.
Outside of Day, the 10 full-time on-field assistant coaches, Marotti, Voltolini and Pantoni, the rest of Ohio State’s football staffers are classified as at-will employees rather than contracted employees. That said, there are several other members of Ohio State’s support staff who also receive six-figure salaries.
As of Jan. 31, when Ohio State last updated its online salary database, additional members of the Buckeyes’ football staff who make more than $100,000 include assistant athletic director of player development Ryan Stamper ($165,000), executive director for football relations Tim Hinton ($159,135), associate athletic director of sports performance Doug Calland ($145,013), head physical therapist Adam Stewart ($130,000), associate director of strength and conditioning Phil Matusz ($111,300) and head athletic trainer Shaun Barnhouse ($101,745).
Stamper, who was promoted to the role of assistant athletic director in July 2018 and oversees the football team’s “Real Life Wednesdays” program, was hired by Meyer in 2012 after playing for Meyer at Florida.
Hinton is entering his fourth season in his role as executive director for football relations and special assistant to the head coach after previously serving as the Buckeyes’ tight ends coach from 2012-15, Meyer’s first four seasons at Ohio State.
Calland, who has been at Ohio State since 1995, oversees both the football program and all aspects of athletic training in the Ohio State athletic department. Stewart, who has been at Ohio State since 2015, plays a leading role in helping injured players rehabilitate and recover from their injuries. Barnhouse has been at Ohio State since 2012 and was promoted to head athletic trainer for the football team in 2016.
Matusz, who serves as Marotti’s right-hand man in football strength and conditioning, has been with the Buckeyes since 2014.