Coaching changes defined the Big Ten's offseason, but one of the most significant moves in the league was made to keep a key assistant in place.
Michigan State retained defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi after he turned down a lucrative opportunity to go to Texas A&M in the same role. Narduzzi, who earned $233,000 last year, would receive a substantial raise to stay in East Lansing.
That raise is now known, as the Detroit Free Press first reported. Narduzzi will be paid $500,000, more than doubling his previous salary. All of Mark Dantonio's assistants received salary increases following a season where the Spartans won the Legends Division title and the Outback Bowl, and recorded 11 victories for the second consecutive season.
As expected, Narduzzi received the biggest increase ($267,000), although his salary ranks behind several Big Ten assistants, including Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell ($750,000) and Michigan coordinators Greg Mattison ($750,000) and Al Borges ($650,000). Given Narduzzi's success the past few seasons, his compensation seems reasonable, given the market.
"I think coach Narduzzi's going to be a head coach," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said Thursday. "I think coach Narduzzi believes in this program. What we did is we sat down and said, 'Here's a compensation that gets you in the frame, but also an opportunity for you to achieve what you really want to achieve, which is a head-coaching position.' He and some of the other [assistant] positions were very far off from the norm, and now I believe they're in the norm."
Some of the other reported raises include a $75,000 bump for offensive coordinator Dan Roushar from $230,000 to $305,000; $33,000 raises for secondary coach Harlon Barnett and linebackers/secondary coach Mike Tressel, from $170,000 to $203,000; and $30,000 raises for offensive line coach Mark Staten and running backs coach Brad Salem from $170,000 to $200,000.
Dantonio often credits Michigan State's success to staff continuity. The only assistants who have left the program in his tenure -- Don Treadwell and Dan Enos -- did so for FBS head-coaching positions elsewhere.
Narduzzi's time will come soon, but Michigan State took an important step by keeping its top assistant in East Lansing for another year.