Four Ohio State Assistants To Make Over $1 Million In 2020

Ohio State assistant coaches salaries Kerry Coombs

The Ohio State football program is 26-2 over its last two seasons, and 38-4 with three Big Ten championships since 2017.

It has beaten Michigan a school-record eight straight years. The Buckeyes have not lost a game to a Big Ten East team in more than 1,200 days.

The OSU program in general is pretty solid, and it’s been solid for long enough that the people who are in charge of running it are seemingly fairly decent at what they do. That’s the overall point being made here.

The Buckeyes’ head coach, Ryan Day, just got a big, fat contract extension and a hefty raise for his role in all of that.

Monday, Ohio State released the salary information for Day’s assistant coaching staff, and they’re also seeing the financial result of all that success.

This fall, for the first time in school history, four assistant coaches will each earn more than $1 million per year.

Defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs will be the highest-paid assistant at $1.4 million.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will make $1.2 million, a $250,000 raise from his 2019 salary of $950,000.

Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and defensive line coach Larry Johnson will both earn $1.133 million.

Johnson earned $900,000 in 2019, while Mattison made $1.1 million.

Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is next at $700,000, a raise from the $600,000 he made last year.

Running backs coach Tony Alford will make $618,000, a small bump from the $600,000 he earned in 2019.

Brian Hartline, the wide receivers coach, is still a relative bargain at $550,000. That represents more than a 50 percent raise from the $360,000 he made last fall.

Linebackers coach Al Washington will make $515,000, up from $500,000.

Special teams and assistant secondary coach Matt Barnes is in line for a $100,000 raise to $450,000 in his second year with the Buckeyes.

New quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis will make $300,000 this fall in his first year as one of the ten top assistants on staff. He earned $105,000 in 2019 as a senior quality control coach.

Some of the (relatively) smaller raises are a result of a coach entering the back half of a two-year contract.

Both Mattison and Washington are in the second season of the two-year deals they signed after coming over from Michigan.

Seven-figure salaries for assistant coaches may seem shocking in a sport based on the idea of amateurism, but according to the USA Today assistant coach salary database, they’re becoming more and more common.

A total of 24 assistants nationwide made at least $1 million in 2019. Many of the names at the top of the list, such as LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda ($2.5 million) and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables ($2.2 million) helped their teams reach the College Football Playoff.

However other schools received a significantly worse ROI. One example is Texas A&M, which gave defensive coordinator Mike Elko $2.2 million to give up 97 points total to Alabama and LSU.

South Carolina cut seven-figure checks to both of its coordinators en route to a 4-8 season, including $1 million to offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon, who proceeded to coordinate the 98th-ranked offense in SP+ and get busted back to position coach for 2020.

Citrus Bowl runner-up Michigan paid offensive coordinator Josh Gattis ($1.1 million) and defensive coordinator Don Brown ($1.5 million).

Brown, whose defenses have given up more than twice as many touchdowns to Ohio State in the last two seasons (15) as it has forced punts (7), earned more in 2019 than any Buckeye assistant will make in 2020.

The full release from Ohio State is included below.


Ohio State Football Asst. Coach Salaries, Terms Announced

Buckeyes returned to the CFP in 2019 and were only team with Top 5 total offense & total defense units

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Department of Athletics released salaries and terms for its 10 full-time assistant coaches today. The staff will make just under $8.0 million combined for the coming season after making just over $7.2 million last year, which ranked third nationally in 2019 according to the USA Today database of assistant coach salaries.

Ohio State’s assistant coaching staff features eight of the 10 assistant coaches who lead what was considered by many as one of the finest teams in program history in 2019. The Buckeyes won a third consecutive outright Big Ten championship – a first in Big Ten history – and advanced to the College Football Playoffs for the third time in the six-year history of the format, and for the first time since 2016.

Ohio State won 13 games by an average of over 36 points per game and it ranked in the Top 5 of 12 major NCAA statistical categories, including leading the nation in total defense (259.7 yards per game), fewest passing yards per game allowed (156.0), pass efficiency defense (97.50) and offensive third down percentage (55 pct.).

Ohio State was also No. 4 nationally in total offense (529.9) and was the only program in the nation to rank in the Top 5 in both total offense and total defense.

“I couldn’t have been more impressed with the performance of our coaching staff under the direction of Ryan Day in 2019,” Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith said. “What they accomplished both on the field and in the way they led and mentored our students-athletes was exemplary. We look forward to much of the same in 2020.”

New defensive coordinator/secondary coach Kerry Coombs has a two-year contract through Jan. 31, 2022 that will pay him $1.4 million annually. Offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson is next with a salary of $1.2 million per year for the next two seasons.

Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and Larry Johnson, the nationally acclaimed defensive line coach and assistant head coach, will each make $1.133 million with Mattison in the second year of a two-year contract and Johnson set to make that amount for the next two seasons.

According to the USA Today database, there were 24 assistant coaches making at least $1.0 million in salary in 2019 with five schools – Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, South Carolina and Tennessee – having multiple assistants making at least that much.

Ohio State Assistant Coaching Staff Terms, Salaries and Increases

  • Tony Alford, Assistant Head Coach for Offense/Running Backs – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2021 2019 Salary: $600,000; 2020 Salary: $618,000; Increase: $18,000
  • Matt Barnes, Special Teams Coordinator/Assistant Secondary – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2022; 2019 Salary: $350,000; 2020-2021 Salary: $450,000; Increase: $100,000
  • Kerry Coombs, Defensive Coordinator – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2022; 2020-2021 Salary: $1.4 million
  • Corey Dennis, Quarterbacks – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2022; 2020-2021 Salary: $300,000
  • Brian Hartline, Wide Receivers – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2022; 2019 Salary: $360,000; 2020-2021 Salary: $550,000; Increase: $190,000
  • Larry Johnson, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2022; 2019 Salary: $900,000; 2020-2021 Salary: $1.133 million; Increase: $233,000
  • Greg Mattison, Co-Defensive Coordinator: Term: 1/7/19 to 1/31/2021; 2019 Salary: $1.1 million; 2020 Salary: $1.133 million; Increase: $33,000
  • Greg Studrawa, Offensive Line – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2022; 2019 Salary: $600,000; 2020-2021 Salary: $700,000; Increase: $100,000
  • Al Washington, Linebackers – Term: 1/9/2019 to 1/31/2021; 2019 Salary: $500,000; 2020 Salary: $515,000; Increase: $15,000
  • Kevin Wilson, Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends – Term: 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2022; 2019 Salary: $950,000; 2020-2021 Salary: $1.2 million; Increase:  $250,000