The Washington Post

Virginia will pay hefty price for new coaching staff

It remains to be seen whether Virginia’s hiring of former North Carolina State Coach Tom O’Brien and veteran defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta will result in an upgrade on the field for the Cavaliers. But off it, Virginia joined some elite company in terms of compensation with Thursday evening’s announcement.

Based on USA Today’s college football coaches’ salary database for 2012, only Clemson paid its assistant coaches more than Virginia will in 2013. Including the $1.36 million buyout needed when the Cavaliers fired four assistants last month, Coach Mike London’s staff will cost at least $4,034,296 next year.

Aside from Clemson, the only other school in the country that spends more than $4 million on assistant coaches is LSU.

That figure doesn’t even take into account any raises Virginia’s holdover coaches will receive, such as the one cornerbacks coach Chip West is sure to get now that he has added recruiting coordinator to his job title. It also doesn’t include the $300,000 bonus O’Brien is due following the end of his two-year contract with Virginia.

Of course, the hefty price tag will only be in effect for one year while Virginia is essentially paying for four coaches to sit at home. If we just include the nine assistant coaches who will be on staff next season, the yearly price tag is about $2,674,296. Last year, the Cavaliers paid their football assistants a total of $2,166,138.

Still, according to USA Today’s 2012 numbers, Virginia’s 2013 figure for active coaches would be higher than every school in the ACC except Clemson and Florida State (Note: Because Wake Forest, Miami and Boston College are private schools, they are not obligated to disclose salary figures).

Not to mention, O’Brien and Tenuta are now the league’s third- and fourth-highest paid assistants, behind only Clemson’s Chad Morris and Brent Venables, based on the compensation packages each received from Virginia.

Clearly, winning doesn’t come cheap in college football these days.

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.


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