Georgia makes Todd Monken one of nation’s highest-paid assistants

Georgia offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Todd Monken said that Stetson Bennett proved to have been initially undervalued by him and the coaching staff with his play on the field this season. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles/UGA Athletics)

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Georgia offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Todd Monken said that Stetson Bennett proved to have been initially undervalued by him and the coaching staff with his play on the field this season. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles/UGA Athletics)

ATHENS – Georgia’s Todd Monken now is one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the nation.

The Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator the two past seasons will make $2 million next season, according to information released by UGA on Thursday afternoon in response to an open-records request for recent salary actions. Though Georgia released the information only Thursday, the school lists the effective date of Monken’s new salary as Jan. 15 of this year.

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That represents a $750,000 increase in compensation over last season, when Monken earned $1.25 million as Georgia’s offensive play-caller and quarterbacks coach. He was to make $1.4 million next season, which would have been the third and final year of contract he signed in 2020 when he left the Cleveland Browns to become coach Kirby Smart’s third offensive coordinator.

UGA said it did not have a new contract on file for Monken. However, a person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed that Monken’s new deal is a fresh, three-year agreement with annual salary escalators. The means it will begin anew in 2022 and extend through the 2024 season.

There’s a reason that coach Kirby Smart wants to keep Monken on staff. The Bulldogs finished 10th in the nation in scoring (38.6) and fourth in yards per play (6.98) last season while making a run to its first national championship in football in 41 years. Georgia managed that production despite losing starting quarterback JT Daniels to an early-season back injury.

Monken made the decision to play former walk-on Stetson Bennett the rest of the way. Bennett earned MVP honors in both the Orange Bowl and the national championship game as the Bulldogs knocked off Michigan and Alabama in the College Football Playoff.

Monken’s new deal places him among the highest-paid assistant coaches in college football. While no comprehensive salary surveys have been done for 2022, only three non-head-coaches made more than $2 million in 2021. According to USA Today, Brent Venables made $2.5 million as Clemson’s defensive coordinator, Tony Elliott made $2.15 as Clemson’s offensive coordinator and Mike Elko made $2.1 million as Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator last year. All three are now head coaches, at Oklahoma, Virginia and Duke, respectively.

Monken also is a former head coach. He led the Southern Miss program from 2013-15. But before coming to Georgia in 2020, the 56-year-old native of Wheaton, Ill., spent four seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator.

Monken reportedly had several offers to return to the NFL or to move on to other major-college programs as a coordinator after last season. Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly asked Monken to join him at LSU, according to published reports.

Next season, Monken will welcome back seven starters and 28 returning lettermen to the Georgia offense. Bennett also is returning for a sixth collegiate season.