The Big Ten hasn't quite reached the SEC/ACC level when it comes to paying assistant coaches, but several schools are willing to shell out the big bucks for top aides.
How much will it cost to fix Michigan's porous defense? The Wolverines hope the $750,000 salary paid to new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will do the trick.
Mattison, whose two-year contract was obtained by the Associated Press, has become the Big Ten's highest-paid assistant. The veteran defensive coach who came from the NFL's Baltimore Ravens will receive a base salary of $250,000 and $500,000 in additional compensation. He can earn a $150,000 bonus if Michigan wins the Big Ten championship this fall.
You figured Michigan needed to make a splash with its defensive coordinator hire, and luring Mattison from the NFL wouldn't come cheap. Only three FBS assistants made more than $750,000 in 2010.
All three of the Big Ten's highest-paid assistants from last season -- Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and Illinois defensive coordinator Vic Koenning -- recently received pay raises. Petrino got a $50,000 bump, bringing his salary to $525,000, while Koenning received a $17,000 raise, bringing his salary to $342,000.
Chryst, who turned down a lucrative offer to become Texas' offensive coordinator, received a $100,000 raise that brings his salary to $405,000.
New Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges enters the group of top-earning Big Ten assistants. Borges' contract pays him $350,000 annually.
Nebraska isn't afraid to pay Bo Pelini's assistants top dollar, and even a school like Indiana is allowing new coach Kevin Wilson to spend decent money on his new staff.
Some dummy wrote this back on Dec. 22:
"Wild spending on assistant coaches is less a part of the culture in the Big Ten than it is in the SEC, Big 12 or even ACC. Will we ever see a Big Ten coordinator make more than $900,000, like Will Muschamp did at Texas, or more than $500,000? Perhaps we will, but I think it's doubtful."
Oh, yeah, that was me. Guess I was wrong.
Assistant coach spending is now a big part of the Big Ten culture.
Where will it stop? Nobody knows.