The highest-paid Pac-12 assistant coach last year was reportedly Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt.
This year, it’ll almost definitely be Jimmy Lake.
The 42-year-old Washington defensive coordinator — whose Huskies have led the Pac-12 in scoring defense in four consecutive seasons — earned a substantial raise for the second consecutive year in February. Lake’s contract, as well as the contracts of UW’s nine other full-time assistant coaches, were made available to The Times by a UW spokesperson on Wednesday night.
On Feb. 1, Lake signed a three-year deal that would bump his annual guaranteed compensation from roughly $1.1 million in 2018 to roughly $1.4 million in 2019. That figure will increase to $1.5 million in 2020 and $1.7 million in 2021. Lake is eligible to receive performance incentives for athletic and academic achievement as well.
Last year, Lake’s salary nearly doubled, jumping from $650,000 in 2017 to $1.1 million in 2018. That made Lake — even prior to this February’s raise — the highest-paid assistant coach in program history. Co-defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski also voluntarily ceded defensive play-calling powers to Lake last offseason in an attempt to keep the coveted UW assistant on Montlake for years to come.
Should Lake leave for another Pac-12 assistant coaching job, his contract states that he would owe the university the remainder of his guaranteed compensation through the end of the three-year deal. Should he accept any college football assistant coaching job outside of the Pac-12 or a job other than head coach or defensive coordinator in the NFL, Lake would owe half of his remaining guaranteed compensation.
Essentially, the contract’s buyout language makes it unlikely that Lake would leave for anything short of a college head coaching job or a defensive coordinator opportunity in the NFL.
According to USA Today’s database for assistant coaches salaries, only 10 assistants nationally earned more in 2018 than Lake is scheduled to make this season. Leavitt — who has since left Oregon’s program — reportedly made $1.7 million in 2018. Lake’s $1.1 million in total compensation last season ranked 18th nationally.
Lake, who played safety at Eastern Washington from 1995 to 1998, also coached defensive backs at UW in 2004. He was first hired by Chris Petersen to be Boise State’s defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator in 2012. The veteran secondary coach also served as UW’s co-defensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017 and will enter his second season as the program’s defensive coordinator this fall.
As for the rest of Petersen’s coaching staff, two UW assistants — Kwiatkowski and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan — are currently in the second of three-year deals. The team’s co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach, Kwiatkowski — who earned $900,000 last season — is set to make roughly $950,000 in 2019 and $1 million in 2020.
Hamdan, who made $700,000 in 2018, is scheduled to receive $750,000 in guaranteed compensation in 2019 and $800,000 in 2020.
Washington’s seven other full-time assistant coaches were due for contract renewals this offseason. Offensive line coach Scott Huff — who made $500,000 in 2018 — signed a two-year deal worth $550,000 annually. Inside linebackers coach Bob Gregory’s two-year deal is also worth $550,000 per year, which matches his 2018 total. Defensive line coach Ikaika Malloe received a two-year contract and a significant raise, from $355,000 in 2018 to $455,000 in 2019 and $500,000 in 2020.
Running backs coach Keith Bhonapha also received a raise, signing a two-year contract worth roughly $380,000 annually after making $355,000 in 2018. Wide receivers coach Junior Adams, who was hired in January, received a two-year contract worth $375,000 per year. Assistant defensive backs coach Will Harris, who made $200,000 in his first year at UW in 2018, signed a two-year deal that will pay him $230,000 in 2019 and $250,000 in 2020.
Tight ends coach Jordan Paopao is the only UW assistant who received a one-year contract instead of a two-year deal. He will earn $300,000 this year, same as 2018. Each Husky coach could also receive incentives related to athletic and academic performance.
In all, Washington’s assistant salary pool is roughly $5.94 million in 2019, a $500,000 increase from last year. According to USA Today, just eight schools had a larger salary pool in 2018 than the Huskies’ 2019 figure. Ohio State led the way in that category, paying its assistants roughly $7.38 million. Washington led the Pac-12 in assistant salary pool last season but Oregon narrowly trailed, with a total pool of $5.35 million.
Washington strength and conditioning coach Tim Socha’s 2018 compensation of $340,000 also ranked tops in the Pac-12 and 21st nationally, according to USA Today.