By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Dan Mullen wants to keep his coaching staff happy, and raises are a good way to do that.
For the first time, Mississippi State will pay out more than $2 million to its assistant football coaches this fiscal year. Eight of MSU’s on-field assistants received a 1.5-percent raise, effective July 1. Tony Hughes, the safeties coach, was given a 7.3-percent increase, from $205,000 to $220,000.
The raises were recommended by Mullen after the Bulldogs went 7-6 and beat Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl.
“One of the things we want to do, we want to keep competitive with the other schools in the Southeastern Conference,” Mullen said. “We have a really good staff right now, not just the quality of coaches we have, the quality of recruiters that we have, but the quality of people and the staff cohesion that we have.”
MSU’s assistants will collectively make $2,032,775 this fiscal year. For the first time under Mullen, State had no on-field staff turnover this offseason.
Since Mullen’s tenure began in 2009, MSU assistants’ salaries have risen by 12.6 percent. The raises were higher following the 2010 season, when the Bulldogs went 9-4 and won the Gator Bowl.
The highest-paid assistant is defensive coordinator Chris Wilson, at $304,500. Next is co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Geoff Collins ($284,200), followed by offensive coordinator Les Koenning and offensive line coach John Hevesy ($279,125 apiece).
Why the bigger raise for Hughes? To catch him up with the other assistants. When he joined MSU in 2009, he and running backs coach Greg Knox had the second-lowest salaries on staff.
“He started low, so we got him up where the other guys are,” Mullen said. “Because I think he’s done a great job recruiting, had two guys go onto the NFL last year at his position group. What I wanted to do is make sure he was balanced out with the other guys.”
The assistants’ potential bonuses will remain the same – about one month’s salary.
As for Mullen, athletics director Scott Stricklin said he was given an “incremental increase” in pay, per the heftier contract he signed in late 2010. That deal pays him $10.6 million over four years on an escalating scale.
MSU ASSISTANT SALARIES
Chris Wilson, defensive coordinator/defensive line: $304,500
Geoff Collins, linebackers/codefensive coordinator: $284,200
John Hevesy, offensive line: $279,125
Les Koenning, offensive coordinator: $279,125
Melvin Smith, cornerbacks/nickelbacks: $228,375
Greg Knox, running backs: $223,300
Tony Hughes, safeties: $220,000
Scott Sallach, tight ends: $137,025
Angelo Mirando, receivers: $76,125