The salary pool for Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins’ 10 assistant coaches is 14% larger than it was for former coach Paul Johnson.
And the biggest portion of the pool is devoted to offensive-line coach Brent Key, who now is one of the higher-paid position coaches in the ACC (if not the highest) at $600,000.
Those were two revelations from an open-records request for contracts for Tech coaches. Collins’ 10 assistants will make a total of $3,205,000, which is $205,000 more than Collins himself will make this season.
As a position coach — although he also is titled the assistant head coach and the run-game coordinator — Key being the top earner on the staff is atypical and speaks to the value that Collins placed on bringing him to Tech from Alabama.
Last year, of the 51 power-conference schools that supplied salary information for their assistants to USA Today for a salary database — private schools are not compelled to provide such information, likewise a handful of public schools because of their states’ public-records laws — only three teams’ highest-paid assistant coach was not an offensive or defensive coordinator. Key also is the only assistant with a two-year contract. The other nine are working on one-year deals.
The $3.2 million pool is an increase from Johnson’s salary pool of $2.8 million for the 2018 season. The pool would have stood to increase in the transition because Johnson served as his own offensive coordinator, where Collins has both an offensive and defensive coordinator on his staff.
Further, athletic director Todd Stansbury was committed to increasing funding for football staff, particularly for non-coaching positions, such as for recruiting. When he hired Collins, rather than give him separate budgets for coaching and non-coaching staff, Stansbury gave him one pool for the entire staff and let him determine how best to use it.
The pool size likely will rank near the bottom among power-conference teams, using the 2018 USA Today report as a measure. Last year, of the 51 power-conference schools whose salary data was included, only eight (not including Tech) paid their assistants less than the $3.205 million that the Yellow Jackets assistants will draw this season. Tech, in fact, was at the bottom at 2.8 million. It would not be a surprise if some of those eight leapfrogged Tech this year.
In returning to his alma mater, Key received a healthy salary bump from his 2018 pay at Alabama, $490,000. Last year, Florida State’s Greg Frey and Louisville’s Mike Summers were the only ACC offensive-line coaches known to have to earned more than the $600,000 that Key will receive this year, and both are no longer at their respective schools.
Following Key are defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker ($450,000) and offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude ($400,000).
The salaries of the other seven assistants: safeties coach Nathan Burton, $325,000; tight ends coach Chris Wiesehan, $300,000; wide receivers coach Kerry Dixon, $235,000; defensive ends/outside linebackers coach Marco Coleman $230,000; cornerbacks coach Jeff Popovich, $230,000; running backs coach Tashard Choice, $225,000; and defensive line coach Larry Knight, $210,000.