Here is the conversation we had with Ross Bjork following today’s presser. Much of it he and talked about in the blog interview last week. …
(What is your reaction to Hugh’s name being connected with the Florida opening? What is your approach to dealing with that?)
“It starts well before these things happen, one with a great relationship between coach and myself, two being proactive throughout the season.
“I love the way we’ve handled this the past two seasons as we’ve ere-done his contract after both seasons. We kind of used the same approach. You have a relationship as a foundation, go through the season and be pro-active with conversations. Once you get to the end, hopefully it doesn’t take as long to get things done.
“That’s where we are. We’ve been pro-active throughout the season. Coach knows how we feel about him. We love that he loves being here, and his family is comfortable. We’ll take the next couple of weeks to iron out the details, and by all accounts we’ll have a new deal in place for him when the season’s over.
“The business points are with his representative. The relationship, the commitment to the program. Those are between coach and myself.”
(Is there a ceiling you can offer a coach?)
“I think there’s always a ceiling no matter what you do. And if somebody has a life-changing opportunity then we’ll be shaking their hand and hugging them on the way out the door. But I think we can be competitive with anybody in the country in terms of what we can offer – in terms of quality of life, salary, assistant packages. I think we can be competitive. I feel good about the resources that we have.”
(SEC Network change things for that ceiling?)
“No question. We’re looking at a big increase in our budget. Our budgets is $76.5 million this year, the largest ever. Next year it will be over $80 million with the SEC Network. It could be closer to $90 when it’s all said and done. It definitely changes the game. When you’re in that realm, back to your point, that’s when you feel good about the resources that we can put out there.
“They always have more in terms of raw numbers, but once you’re in that $75-$80 million range, to me, we can take care of our people. We can take care of facilities at the highest level. It probably has leveled it out a little bit, even though there is more, but what else can you spend that on? I think we can maximize what we do here by being in that $80, $90 million range. We’re approaching that.
(Can you see a scenario where Ole Miss is paying a coach $5 million?)
(Laughs)… “The new number became $3 million last year. We’re at $3 million. So what’s that new number? Is it closer to 4? I don’t know that 5 is the new norm yet. Again, where does it stop, and who is the program that makes the decision where it stops. We don’t want to put ourselves in that position. We’re going to dictate how we feel about that coach. We’re going to dictate with our resources and what that sweet spot is, I think it’s all to be determined. I wouldn’t say it’s five. We’re committed to playing and competing at the highest level. Whatever that number is, with what we’re comfortable, will be the number?