Arizona is paying more money to its assistant football coaches this season — but also might have one of the best bargains in the business.
The UA will pay about $563,000 more in annual base salary to its 10 on-field football assistants in 2021, according to contract agreements obtained by the Star through a public-records request. The sum of the base salaries for Jedd Fisch’s staff is $3,405,000. Kevin Sumlin’s 2020 staff made $2,841,893.
The current salaries include $500,000 owed to defensive coordinator Don Brown — a figure well below market value for a coach with his résumé.
Fisch was able to lure Brown to Tucson at a reduced rate thanks in part to Brown’s contract at Michigan. Brown was fired at the end of last season but still was owed $1.7 million through 2022, according to reports. Brown’s UM contract included offset language, per the Detroit Free Press, which means he’s still making $1.7 million in the 2021 season — $1.2 million from Michigan and $500,000 from Arizona.
Brown’s annual salary at the UA increases to $800,000 in January, about the time his Michigan deal expires.
The second-highest-paid assistant on the UA staff, on an average basis, is offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Brennan Carroll. Carroll’s two-year contact pays the former USC, Miami and Seattle Seahawks assistant annual salaries of $635,000 and $660,000.
Brown and Carroll weren’t the only assistants to receive multi-year contracts. Quarterbacks coach Jimmie Dougherty ($435,000-per-year average) and strength coach Tyler Owens ($230,000) also got two-year deals. It is believed to be the first time Arizona has given multiyear contracts to assistants below the coordinator level — a sign of the university’s renewed commitment to investing in the football program.
The salaries of the other seven on-field assistant coaches are as follows:
Chuck Cecil, safeties: $285,000
DeWayne Walker, cornerbacks: $285,000
Ricky Hunley, defensive line: $285,000
Jordan Paopao, tight ends: $270,000
Kevin Cummings, wide receivers: $250,000
Scottie Graham, running backs: $250,000
Keith Dudzinski, linebackers/special teams: $225,000
Arizona’s coaching change proved lucrative for Cecil, who made $85,000 as a defensive analyst under Sumlin.
One other staff salary worth noting: Tedy Bruschi, who serves as senior advisor to Fisch, makes $75,000. He is the only high-level football staffer classified as a part-time employee.
The cumulative base salary referenced above for Sumlin’s staff does not factor in mandatory pandemic reductions. The assistants had their pay cut by up to 20%.
Most of those contracts ran through March 1. The UA is still on the hook for almost $1.4 million still owed to former coordinators Noel Mazzone and Paul Rhoads, whose contracts run through March 1, 2022.
Mazzone is owed $600,000, Rhoads $800,000. The latter is offset by the $48,000 Rhoads reportedly is being paid by Ohio State to serve as a defensive quality control coach.