When Maryland assistant Dalonte Hill chose to leave Kansas State, he was leaving behind one of the best assistant coaching positions in all of college sports.
It's not just that Hill had established a reputation as one of the nation's best recruiters. The plum-ness of his job was also tied to his salary. At Kansas State, Hill made a cool $423,750 per season, according to a 2010 report by the Kansas City Star. Even in our modern world of million-dollar coaching salaries, that's a lot of loot for an assistant; the majority of Division I programs don't pay their head coaches as much.
Thanks to his close recruiting ties in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas, Hill's decision to leave Kansas State for Maryland was seen as a major harbinger of the Terps' future success. Less discussed were terms of Hill's salary. Would he still be making $400,000 a year? Would Maryland be willing to open the bank for Mark Turgeon's new star recruiter?
The answer, as the Baltimore Sun reported this weekend, is "well, sort of." According to the Sun, Hill will make about $300,000 a year at Maryland. The figure will still make him one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the country, but it does represent a 25 percent pay cut from Hill's time in Manhattan, Kan. As the Sun writes, Hill's salary also represents Maryland's increased willingness to open the coffers for assistant coaches and support staff, something it didn't do much of in the Gary Williams era:
Maryland fans had been wondering in recent months how much Hill got to come to College Park.
Maryland has been seeking to upgrade the men's basketball assistants' pay. In December 2009, a survey in The Washington Times concluded that, under former athletic director Deborah Yow, former head coach Gary Williams' assistant coaches were collectively the lowest-paid among the ACC's eight public schools. The newspaper reported that Keith Booth and Robert Ehsan were the only assistants in the conference with guaranteed annual compensation of less than $100,000.
When Williams retired this spring, coaches and recruiters looked at Maryland as a sleeping giant, a place with beautiful facilities, a teeming recruiting home base, and the unique financial backing of a booming sports apparel line (Under Armour). Would the Terps seize on those natural advantages? However you want to slice Hill's salary -- pay cut or not -- it appears the Terps are more than willing to shell out the dough when the personnel requires it.
If I'm a Maryland fan ... well, I'd already have been excited. But this is only more good news.