Losing Joe Salave'a and JaMarcus Shephard saved WSU some money when you compare their salaries to those of their successors. The Cougars spent $160,000 to increase their football assistant coaches salary pool in 2017.
Former Washington State defensive line coach Joe Salave’a’s departure for Oregon this January was a big loss for WSU because of Salave’a’s recruiting abilities, especially in American Samoa.
But in the long run, it saved WSU some money.
Per his contract, Salave’a, who also held the title assistant head coach at WSU, had been slated for a $25,000 raise and would have made $400,000 in 2017.
His replacement, Jeff Phelps, formerly of Minnesota, will make $316,500. That still makes Phelps the second-highest paid assistant coach on Mike Leach’s staff behind defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
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According to updated contracts released to The Seattle Times this week, WSU invested $160,000 in raises for its assistant football coaches and head strength coach this spring and extended Grinch’s contract to run through June 30, 2020.
The Cougars’ defensive coordinator was already under contract through June 30, 2019, and per the terms of his existing agreement, will earn an extra $25,000 this season to bump his salary to $600,000, with that going up to $625,000 in 2018.
However, Grinch’s contract extension pushes his salary up to $650,000 from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Grinch is also the only one of the assistants who has a buyout clause in his contract. Should he leave for another assistant coaching job before June 30, he’ll owe the university half a million dollars. That amount drops to $250,000 on July 1 and drops again to zero on July 1, 2018.
Grinch aside, outside linebackers coach Roy Manning and special teams coach Eric Mele got the biggest raises this year.
Manning and Mele each saw their salaries increase by $30,000, with Manning now making $301,500 and Mele making $231,500.
Grinch, Phelps and Manning are the only assistants who’ve surpassed the $300,000 mark in earnings.
All the other on-field assistants – offensive line coach Clay McGuire, outside receivers coach Dave Nichol, running backs coach Jim Mastro and inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson – got raises of $15,000.
Strength coach Jason Loscalzo also got a $15,000 raise and will earn $266,500 this year.
In 2017, McGuire will earn $291,500 Nichol will make $266,500, Wilson will make $261,500 and Mastro will make $251,500.
Derek Sage, the new inside receivers coach who was hired in Janaury to replace JaMarcus Shephard, will earn $221,500 in 2017. That’s $5,000 less than the $226,500 Shephard was paid in 2016.
All in all, the Cougars saved $88,500 by taking on Phelps and Sage in lieu of Salave’a and Shephard.
Head coach Mike Leach was awarded a $200,000 raise in 2016 and makes $2.95 million annually. The rollover clause in Leach’s contract was activated again last December, and now extends through Dec. 31, 2021, but WSU has not announced any change in his salary for 2017.
The Cougars’ 2017 salary pool for their nine on-field assistant football coaches now totals $2,742,000, an increase of $81,500 from the $2,662,000 they spent in 2016.
Based on figures from USA Today’s 2016 survey of college football coach salaries, WSU’s assistant coaching salary pool last year ranked ninth out of the 10 public institutions in the Pac-12 in 2016, ahead of only Colorado.
(As private schools, USC and Stanford are not required to release salary information based on public records requests.)
Some Pac-12 schools have yet to publicly release salary information for their football coaching staffs this year, but despite the raises, it appears that the Cougars’ assistant coaching pool will remain toward the bottom quarter of all Pac-12 public institutions in 2017.
UW leads the Pac-12, with a $4,675,000 salary pool for its on-field assistant coaches while Willie Taggart’s new staff at Oregon is currently the only other group in the Pac-12 that has hit the $4 million mark for its assistant coaches salary pool. Five other public Pac-12 schools have assistant football coach salary pools in the $3 million range.