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Interactive Graphic: 2014 NCAA FBS assistant coach pay

Where does WSU rank in the Pac-12 and how does the Pac-12 compare to the rest of the Power 5 conferences?

WSU outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons.
WSU outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons.
WSU Athletic Communcations

This week, USA Today released the 2014 salaries of NCAA public school FBS football assistant coaches. It paints a somewhat bleak picture for WSU and shows how far the Cougs still must go to compete financially in the Pac-12.

Washington State ranks 43rd in the country in total spending on assistant coaches, having spent $2,309,124 on the staff in 2014.  That ranks 9th out of the 10 Pac-12 schools that disclose how much assistants are paid (private institutions like Stanford and USC do not have to disclose) and WSU is about $395,000 below the Pac-12 average of $2,703,163 in total assistant pay.

Mike Breske was our highest paid coach in 2014 at $376,824, but his salary didn’t even crack the top 20 of assistant coaches in the Pac-12. As Brian, Brian and Mark pointed out, with our number 1 and 3 (Eric Russell) highest paid assistants having left the program, the Cougs have about $628,000 to work with even if Bill Moos doesn’t add more money to Leach’s assistant pool.

With Leach acting as head coach and offensive coordinator, we can expect our defensive coordinator to be the highest paid on the staff.  With Stanford and USC not disclosing assistant pay, the teams ranking 3-5 in total defense each shelled out around $500,000 for their defensive coordinator, with Jeff Ulbrich at UCLA making $510,000, Utah’s Kalani Sitake making $500,000 and UW’s Pete Kwiatkowski bringing in $485,004 a year.  Bill Moos will need to add about 25 percent to the DC budget alone to get to the $500,000 mark and be in the ball park for a coach of that caliber.  If we assume that Moos goes for that increase and that WSU keeps Russell’s replacement around $250,000 WSU would move from 9th to 6th in total spending, passing Oregon State, Utah and Arizona.

The below average salaries aren’t just a WSU problem.  The Pac-12 as a conference lags behind the rest of the "Power 5", coming in at 5th in in the country in average total pay.  Oregon and UW, the two teams with the highest total spend, would rank 7th and 9th in the SEC and 4th and 5th in the ACC.

Even if we assume that USC and Stanford are around the $3.2 million in total spend that Oregon and UW are at, it slightly bumps the Pac-12 average up to $2,789,617, which would push the conference just ahead of the Big 10 into 4th in the country.

The Pac-12 TV deal has created an influx of cash that is helping WSU close the gap in facilities.  Now that those necessary improvements have been taken care of, hopefully Bill Moos and the athletic department have some wiggle room to go after some top tier defensive talent.

Navigating the view:

Hover over the green dot for instructions on the map and bar charts, you can show the staff of each school by hovering over "School" in the bar chart and clicking on the + sign

You can CTRL Select any team and hover over their bar or logo to exclude or keep only those teams

You can also select multiple conferences to see how the Pac-12 measures up, just remember to hit "Apply" in the dropdown after you’ve made your selection.