Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Looking in someone else’s wallet

Wednesday May 16, 2007

The chatter among the Dawgnation this morning is about the Banner-Herald’s publication of athletic association salaries, including administrators, head coaches, and assistant coaches. Go ahead and peek. It should go without saying that the list doesn’t represent the total compensation for many people on it.

I understand and appreciate the need for transparency in public matters, but there’s still something gauche about reporting it. Though many salaries in the public sector are stratified and paid according to job grade, there’s still a natural tendency to compare when it’s out in the open. Greed, jealousy, and vanity aren’t far behind if one isn’t careful.

I won’t get much into the report, but there is one thing that Sen. Blutarsky points out that will probably have a ripple effect: brand new offensive line coach Stacy Searles – a position coach and not coordinator – is the third-highest-paid coach of any kind at Georgia. Only Mark Richt and Andy Landers earn more (in terms of base salary of course). No other football assistant, including coordinators Bobo and Martinez, currently earn as much.

What does that mean? It could be that Searles is instantly the best assistant on the staff and is paid accordingly. More likely is that his hiring was one of Georgia’s first experiences with the increasingly expensive market for football assistant coaches. As head coaching salaries soar, assistants are beginning to see measurable increases themselves. Georgia had to compete with the likes of Alabama for Searles, and you have to think about the kind of money they offered him if they threw $32 million at Saban.

As a result, the other assistants will likely be the beneficiaries as their salaries are adjusted accordingly. Has Georgia gotten away with “underpaying” football assistants? Possibly. There has been no mass exodus, so something is keeping them here. But if Searles’ hiring is an indication of the market rates for a good position coach, Georgia will eventually have to react in order to retain the quality assistants already in place.

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