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Teel Time: U.Va. football assistants among nation's highest-paid; VT staff salaries set to increase

USA Today’s annual database of college football assistant coaches’ salaries further punctures the myth that Virginia is not committed to the sport while, through no fault of the newspaper, understates staff compensation at Virginia Tech.

Posted Thursday, the database shows Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris as the highest-paid assistant among public schools in the Bowl Subdivision at $1.31 million in 2013. That’s before postseason bonus and the primary reason the Tigers’ total pay for nine assistants ($4.21 million) ranks behind only LSU ($4.57 million) and Alabama ($4.46 million).

Indeed, with defensive coordinator Brent Venables earning $800,000 in 2013, Clemson has two among the top seven nationally.

At $2.77 million, or about $308,000 per assistant, Virginia ranks 19th nationally, ahead of schools such as South Carolina, Lousiville, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan State. New staff members Tom O’Brien, Jon Tenuta and Steve Fairchild account for more than half of the $2.77 million and give the Cavaliers three of the ACC’s 10 highest-paid assistants.

With the program struggling, some have attributed Virginia’s decision to retain head coach Mike London for a fifth season as evidence that the school is not committed to football. A new indoor practice complex and the athletic department’s tireless football promotions have not silenced that contention, but perhaps the context provided by USA Today’s data will.

At first blush, Virginia Tech’s staff pay of $2.22 million, which ranks 38th nationally and sixth among the ACC’s eight public schools, seems low for such an accomplished program. But that total ignores two facts:

Bud Foster, the Hokies’ renowned defensive coordinator, will receive an $800,000 retention bonus if he remains at Tech through next season. Plus, offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, both new to Tech in 2013, made only $150,000 each from the school this year because of their severance from Auburn.

Loeffler will make $400,000 in 2014, Grimes $265,000. As the Roanoke Times’ Andy Bitter first calculated, had Tech paid full salaries to Loeffler and Grimes in 2013, the Hokies would have ranked fifth in the ACC and 27th nationally at $2.59 million.

Here is Virginia Tech’s staff.

Bud Foster: $535,785

Bryan Stinespring: $312,250

Charley Wiles: $266,673

Torrian Gray: $221,704

Cornell Brown: $216,704

Shane Beamer: $216,704

Aaron Morehead: $150,000

Scot Loeffler: $150,000

Jeff Grimes: $150,000

Here is Virginia’s staff.

Tom O’Brien: $600,000

Jon Tenuta: $500,000

Steve Fairchild: $465,000

Larry Lewis: $245,000

Anthony Poindexter: $225,100

Chip West: $223,100

Scott Wachenheim: $185,800

Vincent Brown: $177,800

Marques Hagans: $150,000

2013 assistants’ pay for ACC schools.

1. Clemson: $4,212,150

2. Florida State: $2,874,450

3. Virginia: $2,771,800

4. N.C. State: $2,635,800

5. Maryland: $2,307,514

6. Virginia Tech: $2,219,820

7. Georgia Tech: $2,189,250

8. North Carolina: $2,075,000

ACC’s top paid assistants:

1. Clemson’s Chad Morris: $1,309,650

2. Clemson’s Brent Venables: $800,000

3. Georgia Tech’s Ted Roof: $601,000

4. Virginia’s Tom O’Brien: $600,000

5. Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster: $535,785

6. Maryland’s Mike Locksley: $514,440

7. Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt: $503,450

8. N.C. State’s Matt Canada: $500,000

8. Virginia’s Jon Tenuta: $500,000

10. Virginia’s Steve Fairchild: $465,000

Top 40 staffs nationally.

1. LSU: $4,565,803

2. Alabama: $4,462,700

3. Clemson: $4,212,150

4. Texas: $4,111,000

5. Auburn: $3,495,000

6. Ohio State: $3,474,504

7. Oklahoma: $3,436,200

8. Texas A&M: $3,392,250

9. Georgia: $3,294,000

10. Arkansas: $3,233,000

11. Florida: $3,211,400

12. Tennessee: $3,170,000

13. Oregon: $3,129,501

14. Michigan: $3,072,000

15. Florida State: $2,874,450

16. Washington: $2,805,024

17. Oklahoma State: $2,792,000

18. UCLA: $2,779,000

19. Virginia: $2,771,800

20. South Carolina: $2,744,600

21. West Virginia: $2,733,000

22. Louisville: $2,703,900

23. Nebraska: $2,648,500

24. Missouri: $2,642,500

25. N.C. State: $2,635,800

26. Kansas State: $2,594,750

27. Colorado: $2,552,500

28. Wisconsin: $2,495,000

29. Boise State: $2,436,390

30. Ole Miss: $2,429,092

31. Kentucky: $2,425,000

32. Michigan State: $2,410,483

33. California: $2,400,000

34. Iowa: $2,367,500

35. Arizona State: $2,315,980

36. Maryland: $2,307,514

37. Arizona: $2,249,300

38. Virginia Tech: $2,219,820

39. Oregon State: $2,218,040

40. Georgia Tech: $2,189,250

Top assistants nationally.

1. Clemson’s Chad Morris: $1,309,650

2. Alabama’s Kirby Smart: $1,150,350

3. LSU’s John Chavis: $1,116,667

4. Michigan’s Greg Mattison: $851,400

5. Georgia’s Todd Grantham: $850,000

6. Washington’s Justin Wilcox: $800,004

7. Clemson’s Brent Venables: $800,000

7. Auburn’s Ellis Johnson: $800,000

9. Michigan’s Al Borges: $709,300

10. Texas A&M’s Mark Snyder: $708,000

I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at dteel@dailypress.com. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP

Here’s a link to my Daily Press print columns.

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