Kerry Coombs Set to Make $1.4 Million, Ohio State Will Have Four Million-Dollar Assistant Coaches in 2020

By Dan Hope on March 9, 2020 at 12:53 pm
Kerry Coombs

Four Ohio State assistant coaches will make more than a million dollars in 2020.

New defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs will be the highest-paid assistant coach – and the second-highest-paid assistant coach in Ohio State history, behind only Greg Schiano in 2018 – with a $1.4 million salary for the 2020 season. That's a $900,000 increase from his salary in 2017, the final year of his first tenure at Ohio State as cornerbacks coach before he left to become the Tennessee Titans' secondary coach.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, who is now the only assistant coach on offense that holds a coordinator title, will make $1.2 million in 2020. He was one of three assistants, along with departed coordinators Jeff Hafley and Mike Yurcich, who had a $950,000 salary in 2019.

Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and defensive line coach Larry Johnson will both make $1.133 million in 2020. Mattison was paid $1.1 million in 2019, while Johnson had a $900,000 salary last year.

Ohio State becomes the first school to pay four assistant coaches more than $1 million each. Clemson had three assistants who made over a million dollars in 2019 (Brent Venables, Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott), but will only have two in 2020 following Scott's departure to become the head coach at South Florida.

In addition to Wilson and Johnson, three other returning assistant coaches also received six-figure raises from their 2019 salaries. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will be the fifth-highest-paid assistant coach on the 2020 staff with a salary of $700,000, up $100,000 from 2019. Wide receivers coach Brian Hartline received a $190,000 raise and will make $550,000 in 2020. Special teams coordinator Matt Barnes received a $100,000 raise and will make $450,000 in 2020.

Running backs coach Tony Alford will be paid $618,000 in 2020, while linebackers coach Al Washington will be paid $515,000.

Quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis, who is entering his first year as a full-time assistant coach, will be the lowest-paid assistant on the 2020 staff with a salary of $300,000. He was paid $105,000 in 2019 for his duties as a senior quality control coach.

Mattison and Washington are entering the second year of the two-year contracts they signed last year. Every other assistant coach is now on a new two-year contract with the exception of Alford, whose deal is only for one year.

Click the link on each coach's name in the table below to see their full contracts (for coaches who received new contracts) or official notifications of their salary increases (for coaches still on existing contracts).

Ohio State's 2020 Assistant Coach Salaries
Coach Title 2019 Salary 2020 Salary Increase Contract End
GREG MATTISON CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR $1,100,000 $1,133,000 $33,000 2021
GREG STUDRAWA OFFENSIVE LINE COACH $600,000 $700,000 $100,000 2022
BRIAN HARTLINE WIDE RECEIVERS COACH $360,000 $550,000 $190,000 2022
AL WASHINGTON LINEBACKERS COACH $500,000 $515,000 $15,000 2021
COREY DENNIS QUARTERBACKS COACH $105,000 $300,000 $195,000 2022

Altogether, Ohio State will pay its 10 on-field assistant coaches almost exactly $8 million in 2020, an increase of roughly $750,000 from last year, when the Buckeyes ranked third in total assistant coach pay behind Alabama and Clemson, according to USA TODAY’s coaching salary database.

Combined with Ryan Day’s new contract, on which he will receive approximately $6.74 million in total pay in 2020, Ohio State is committing nearly $3 million more to its football coaching staff this season than it did last season, when Day and his staff led the Buckeyes to a 13-1 record, their third straight Big Ten championship and a College Football Playoff berth.

“I couldn’t have been more impressed with the performance of our coaching staff under the direction of Ryan Day in 2019,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “What they accomplished both on the field and in the way they led and mentored our student-athletes was exemplary. We look forward to much of the same in 2020.”

Ohio State director of sports performance Mickey Marotti also received a 9 percent raise from last season, bringing his salary for 2020 to $801,150. Marotti was the second-highest paid football strength coach in the country in 2019 behind Iowa's Chris Doyle, who made $800,020 last year, according to USA TODAY's database.

Day, for one, is appreciative of the university’s commitment to ensure he and his staff are well-compensated.

“I think the person and the people that were the most excited about that were my kids, because they knew that they weren't going to be the new kid in school for a long time again, and that's the idea, is that we're here for a long time,” Day said last week when asked about his new contract. “And I certainly couldn't be more grateful for the Board of Trustees, President Drake and obviously Gene Smith, who I owe everything to him, and obviously Urban Meyer, to be in this position, because that's a big deal.

“That changes our life as a family, and we don't take that lightly. But the number one thing that we're the most excited about as a family is we get to be in Columbus again for hopefully the next seven to 10 years, hopefully 20 years. We want to be here as long as we can. We love it here. The kids love the school system. They have a set of friends. Nina loves it here. And that's what's most exciting about this.”

Each of the 10 assistant coaches will also have the opportunity to receive the following bonuses based on team performances, which are unchanged from 2019:

  • Big Ten East championship: 8.5 percent of coach's base salary
  • Big Ten Championship Game win: 4.25 percent
  • New Year's Six bowl game: 17 percent
  • Non-CFP bowl game and at least nine wins: 4.25 percent
  • College Football Playoff berth: 21.25 percent
  • National championship game berth: 25.5 percent

Each of the coaches who signed new contracts will owe Ohio State 30 percent of their base salary if they leave Ohio State for another assistant coaching position before Dec. 1 of the final year of their contracts. The buyout does not apply to any assistant coach who leaves Ohio State for a head coaching position.

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