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Middle Tennessee Is Ramping Up Coordinator Pay

With the loss of three assistant coaches during the offseason, Middle Tennessee was one of the biggest Conference USA spenders in the coaching market.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After hiring offensive coordinator Tony Franklin away from California, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders now have one of the most expensive coaching staffs in Conference USA.

Franklin, a former offensive coordinator for the Blue Raiders, is scheduled to make a base salary of $300,000 for the same role at MTSU. He joins defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix as two of three C-USA assistant coaches to make $300,000 or more per season. Unless there is a large raise I missed from another program, Western Kentucky defensive coordinator Nick Holt ($302,000) is the only other C-USA assistant coach in that category.

Overall, the Blue Raiders are spending a total of $1,960,961 on a total of ten football coaches. Head coach Rick Stockstill currently makes $721,704 per season with a raise of $100,000 coming in the 2018 season. He had previously delayed it in order to help save money that could be used elsewhere with the program.

In the 2015 season, Middle Tennessee coaching staff as a whole made a total of $1,887,765. The 2016 coaching staff salary has increased by 3.8% from the previous season. Losses included Buster Faulker, Geep Wade, and Kodi Burns leaving for other programs. Gains included Tony Franklin, Kez McCorvery, and Jeff Beckles joining the program as assistants.

Franklin, wanting to coach closer to home, took a drop in salary of $207,000 from his base salary at California. He was making $507,000 per season with a max bonus of $50,000 possible. He was the #70 highest paid assistant coach in college football in 2015. As stated earlier, coordinators Nix and Franklin both make $300,000 per season. Nix ranked #256 nationally among all FBS assistant coaches salaries. Only nine group of five assistant coaches made a higher salary than Nix in 2015.

Recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks coach Steve Ellis is the highest paid position coach at $115,296, followed by safeties coach David Bibee at $113,961. Offensive line coach Rick Mallory saw a bump in pay from $90,000 to $105,000 after accepting the promotion following Geep Wade leaving for East Carolina. Offensive tackles and tight ends/Special Teams Coordinator Mike Polly earned a raise from $57,804 to $80,000 as a part of his promotion.

Former Memphis head coach Tommy West is still making $80,000 per season with newly minted wide receivers coach Kez McCorvey pulling in $80,000 as well. Other recent acquisition Jeff Beckles, running backs coach, will be making $60,000 per season.

None of the salaries include potential bonus money that can be earned through personal incentives.

The way that MTSU make a salary like Franklin's work in their budget was a series of small moves with other assistant coach pay. Coaches that were promoted earned more than their previous position, but were still lower overall salaries than the previous coach. For example, Geep Wade made $125,000 in 2015. Rick Mallory took over and is making $105,000. That is a raise of $15,000 for Mallory and a savings of $20,000 for the athletics department.

In in comparison to the rest of Conference USA, only UTEP (Scott Stocker and Patrick Higgins) and Marshall (Chuck Heater and Bill Legg) have multiple assistant coaches that made more than $200,000 per season in 2015. Now, we have one school with two different $300,000+ assistant coaches at MTSU.