Florida antes up for its assistants

Florida has made its assistant coaches among the highest paid in the SEC as a group with raises across the board.

With Florida head coach Urban Meyer making $4 million per year thanks to the six-year, $24 million deal he agreed to last August, it was past due for the Gators to take care of their assistants.

It's true that all these coaching salaries are spiraling out of control. But comparatively speaking, the Florida assistants were underpaid the last couple of seasons.

Don't think so? Go back and look at what former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong was making.

When he was hired following last season as the Louisville head coach, he was reportedly making just $310,000 for the Gators. That would place him in the bottom half of the league right now.

Talk about a guy who was grossly underpaid.

Interestingly enough, the Gators' highest paid assistant will be Strong's replacement, Teryl Austin, who will earn $440,000 annually after coming over from the Arizona Cardinals. Even so, that figure still places him in the lower tier of SEC defensive coordinator salaries. Alabama's Kirby Smart, Georgia's Todd Grantham, LSU's John Chavis and South Carolina's Ellis Johnson all make $700,000 or more. Tennessee's Justin Wilcox makes $600,000, while Ole Miss' Tyrone Nix recently agreed to a deal that will pay him $500,000 annually.

Florida's offensive coordinator, Steve Addazio, will make $375,000 per year, but he will also be paid an additional fee for the duties he performed this offseason as the Gators' interim coach while Meyer was taking some time off.

I hope that fee is significant when you consider all the different hats Addazio has had to wear the last several months.

At least four SEC offensive coordinators will make more than Addazio in 2010 -- Auburn's Gus Malzahn ($500,000), LSU's Gary Crowton ($469,917), Tennessee's Jim Chaney ($425,000) and Alabama's Jim McElwain ($410,000).

So while these raises put the Florida assistants as a group near the top of the league, the coordinator salaries still lag behind.

The total for the nine Florida assistants is at least $2.74 million, and there are also performance-based incentives that are part of the deals.

In addition to Austin and Addazio, defensive line and assistant head coach Dan McCarney and assistant defensive coordinator Chuck Heater will also earn more than $300,000 per year annually. All nine of the assistants received two-year deals.

All in all, some pretty good coin when you consider that in 2000 the average salary for a Division I-A assistant coach was $60,500, according to a survey conducted by the NCAA. The highest paid assistant at that time was then-North Carolina State offensive coordinator Norm Chow at $165,000.