The University of Tennessee didn’t exactly go bargain shopping.
The Vols announced terms of their agreements with head coach Derek Dooley and each of his assistants for the first time on Tuesday, and the total package will come in slightly less expensive than what they paid last year.
Former head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff accounted for $5.325 million in salary, and starting with a six-year, $1.8 million deal for Dooley, UT will pay $4.525 million to its 10 coaches — which would drop the Vols from fourth to seventh in total salaries in the Southeastern Conference based on the 2009 season.
Though Dooley’s base pay will be a bit less than Kiffin made in his only season at UT and will also be less than men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl earns, it’s a significant raise from the approximately $400,000 he was making as coach at Louisiana Tech University.
Signed contracts or additional details still have not been released by UT, including a buyout amount for either party should Dooley be fired or resign before his contract expires.
“In the few short weeks working with coach Dooley, it is evident that he is going to do a tremendous job as coach at the University of Tennessee,” Hamilton said in a statement released Tuesday. “A great deal of that anticipated success is due to the first-class staff he has assembled to assist him. I look forward to watching them work in the months and years ahead.”
Dooley and his assistants each have at least a two-year “memorandum of understanding” under which to work, with half of the staff having deals longer than that.
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox will be the highest-paid assistant with a three-year deal worth $600,000 annually, followed by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney (three years, $425,000), assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett and linebackers coach Lance Thompson (three years, $375,000).
The other five assistants were all given two-year deals worth between $150,000 and $225,000, making the total price tag $2.725 million, excluding Dooley. That figure is about $600,000 less than UT paid a year ago when it had the highest-paid group in the conference.
Based on salary information from 2009, the Vols will at least rank in the SEC behind LSU and Alabama, though they’re still in the top 10 nationally.
Austin Ward may be reached at 865-342-6274.