USA Today released the figures for assistant coaching pay for every* program in the country yesterday and it's interesting data to look at. There's a pretty good (though by no means perfect) correlation between the amount of money teams pay their assistant coaches and their on-field success, as you might have been able to guess. Better coaches = better results and better coaches = more money.
*It's not really every program, since private schools aren't required to release this data and a few states (like Pennsylvania) have laws in place that keep this data from being released (or that universities/athletic departments hide behind, depending on your perspective).
As far as the Big Ten...
|RANK||TEAM||TOTAL PAY||HI PAY||LOW PAY|
Shockingly (not shockingly), Ohio State and Michigan lead the by a considerable margin when it comes to coaching pay. Michigan invests a big chunk of that money into their coordinators (DC Greg Mattison makes $888,333, while OC Doug Nussmeier brings in $830,000), while Ohio State divvies things up a bit more evenly -- six of Urban Meyer's nine assistants make at least $300,000 or more (and a seventh, Stanley Drayton, is right there at $295,000). Interestingly, Tom Herman, this year's winner of the Broyles Award for the nation's best assistant coach, is actually OSU's third-highest paid assistant, at $550,000.
Michigan State trails the Big Ten's big two slightly, but does have the league's highest-paid assistant, DC Pat Narduzzi ($907,033). Considering his defense has consistently been one of the best in the conference (and the nation) for the last several years -- and that he's perpetually rumored for head coaching gigs -- that salary seems fairly justified. Having one guy take up over 25% of the assistant coaching salary pool does cut into the take for the other assistants, though -- only two other MSU assistants make $300,000+.
Iowa checks in at #4 in the Big Ten in terms of assistant coaching pay, although I suspect they might actually rank #5 if Penn State's numbers were released. PSU may have been well behind the salary curve while JoePa was there, but that seems to have changed in recent years. Iowa embraces a more OSU-like approach to coaching pay, with no huge earners (Phil Parker and Greg Davis are Iowa's joint top-earners, at $450,036) but quite a bit of parity: five of Iowa's nine assistants earn between $281,880 (Chris White) and $324,000 (Jim Reid). Fourteen B1G assistants are higher-paid than any of Iowa's assistants, though, including both sets of coordinators for Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Our Most Hated Rival pays its assistants to least -- in fact, Purdue pays its assistants the second-least of any Power 5 conference team in the nation (ahead of only Cal). (Again, at least among the teams that we have data for; some of the private schools -- I'm thinking Wake Forest in particular -- may pay their assistants less.) In fact, three of the Big Ten's most prominent "basketball schools" -- Indiana, Illinois, and Purdue -- show up at the bottom of the table in terms of assistant coaching pay for football. No shock there.
Meanwhile, in the other power conferences...
|RANK||LEAGUE||TEAM||TOTAL PAY||LEAGUE||TEAM||TOTAL PAY||LEAGUE||TEAM||TOTAL PAY||LEAGUE||TEAM||TOTAL PAY|
|1||SEC||LSU||5,499,269||ACC||Clemson||4,448,225||PAC 12||Oregon||3,277,584||BIG 12||Oklahoma||4,077,900|
|2||SEC||Alabama||5,213,400||ACC||Virginia Tech||3,583,250||PAC 12||Washington||3,250,032||BIG 12||Texas||3,841,640|
|3||SEC||Auburn||4,645,000||ACC||Florida State||3,386,000||PAC 12||UCLA||3,184,100||BIG 12||West Virginia||2,884,000|
|4||SEC||Texas A&M||3,484,050||ACC||Louisville||3,225,000||PAC 12||Arizona St||3,111,620||BIG 12||Okie State||2,837,000|
|5||SEC||South Carolina||3,333,800||ACC||Virginia||2,908,670||PAC 12||Colorado||2,595,500||BIG 12||Kansas State||2,813,325|
|6||SEC||Georgia||3,327,800||ACC||NC State||2,692,560||PAC 12||Arizona||2,498,650||BIG 12||Texas Tech||2,155,100|
|7||SEC||Tennessee||3,265,000||ACC||Georgia Tech||2,223,600||PAC 12||Utah||2,420,000||BIG 12||Iowa State||2,110,900|
|8||SEC||Florida||3,225,900||ACC||North Carolina||2,051,667||PAC 12||Oregon State||2,347,200||BIG 12||Kansas||2,105,000|
|9||SEC||Arkansas||3,218,800||ACC||Boston College||n/a||PAC 12||Wash State||2,309,124||BIG 12||Baylor||n/a|
|10||SEC||Missouri||3,169,000||ACC||Duke||n/a||PAC 12||Cal||2,081,600||BIG 12||TCU||n/a|
|12||SEC||Mississippi State||2,682,500||ACC||Pitt||n/a||PAC 12||Stanford||n/a|
I'm assuming that it surprises precisely no one that the SEC is the leader of the pack when it comes to assistant coaching pay -- by a pretty substantial margin. They have the three highest-paid assistant coaching staffs in the country (LSU, Alabama, Auburn) and ten of their teams pay their assistants a total of $3M or more. There are just three Big Ten teams paying assistants that much, along with four ACC teams, four Pac-12 teams, and two Big XII teams. Iowa checks in at #4 in the Big Ten table... but they'd be #11 in the SEC in terms of assistant coaching pay. (They'd be #6 in the ACC and Big XII, and #5 in the Pac-12.)
But we're an Iowa blog, so what do we make of Iowa's numbers? I think it depends on your perspective. From a B1G-only perspective, Iowa spends as much (and actually slightly more) than the rank-and-file of the league, including peer institutions like Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I think that makes Iowa's on-field performance over the last few seasons a bit more frustrating; compared to the rest of the Big Ten, Iowa isn't skimping on financial resources for its coaches, but that money isn't being repaid in the form of wins or trophies.
From a more national perspective, though, Iowa (and the majority of the Big Ten) is trailing behind several programs, despite the fact that the Big Ten is the most lucrative conference in the nation. As the presence of Rutgers and Maryland continues to make itself felt in the bank accounts of Big Ten teams -- and as teams continue to enjoy a windfall from TV money (the Big Ten is the only major conference not to sign new TV deals within the last few years, but it will be their turn at the table in a year or two) -- it will be very fascinating to see what Iowa (and the rest of the Big Ten) does with that money. If the league wants to emerge from the cycle of mediocrity its been trapped in, though, shelling out more money to attract better assistant coaches (who, in turn, can help B1G teams attract better players and get more out of the players that they have) might be a good start. The same might be true for Iowa as well.