Much like the majority of their competition in the SEC, Derek Dooley and his staff of assistants will be cashing bigger checks in 2011.
With a handful of contractually obligated and merit-based raises, Dooley’s staff at Tennessee will earn a combined $5.175 million this season, according to figures released by UT on Thursday. That’s a $750,000 jump from Dooley’s inaugural season, but is still $450,000 short of what Lane Kiffin and his staff earned in 2009.
Overall, the Vols fall into the middle of the pack among SEC teams. Alabama coach Nick Saban, alone, will make more than the Vols’ entire coaching staff, while defending national champion Auburn recently announced raises for coach Gene Chizik and his staff that lifted its payroll beyond $7.5 million.
As was originally agreed upon when he replaced Kiffin, Dooley had his salary jump from $1.8 million to $1.9 million in the second year of his six-year deal. With coaches such as South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen earning significant raises during the offseason, Dooley is now one of the lowest-paid coaches in the SEC.
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, whose flirtation with Texas for the same position prompted a brief distraction during Music City Bowl preparations at the end of last season, will earn the most among Dooley’s assistants for the second consecutive year.
His original three-year deal called for him to earn $625,000 in 2011, but he will instead take home $700,000.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, whose name was tossed around for the opening at LSU during the offseason, received a similar pay bump, going from $425,000 in 2010 to $525,000 in 2011.
Part of offensive line coach Harry Hiestand’s salary is no longer supplemented by his former employer, the NFL’s Chicago Bears, so the Vols are now covering the entire tab. UT paid Hiestand $200,000 last season, but are now responsible for all $475,000 of his salary.
UT’s two multi-tasking coaches received similar, $50,000 pay raises.
Tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Eric Russell’s salary went from $200,000 to $250,000, while secondary coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph now earns $225,000.
Through clauses preordained in their respective contracts, wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett and defensive line coach Lance Thompson each received $25,000 raises. Both coaches will take home $400,000 in their second year as a Dooley assistant.
Quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw’s salary will remain the same at $150,000. Linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, who was a graduate assistant on last year’s staff, will earn $150,000 as well.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble.