FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas continued to follow-through with its plan of doling out more pay for its new football staff Thursday, when salary figures for four assistants and strength coach Ben Herbert were released.
Herbert, linebackers coach Randy Shannon, receivers coach George McDonald, cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson and running backs coach Joel Thomas will earn more than their 2012 predecessors. It also bumps the pay of Arkansas’ eight on-the-field assistants to $2.8 million with one position left to be filled.
Arkansas’ 2012 assistant coaches earned just over $2.6 million.
Shannon leads the way among the latest group, agreeing to an offer letter that will pay him $315,000 annually through June 30, 2014. He is the second-highest paid non-coordinator on the staff and his deal includes a $50,000 prorated buyout, which will be waived if he leaves for another job as a head coach or defensive coordinator.
Wide receivers coach George McDonald will earn $275,000 annually, running backs coach Joel Thomas will receive $235,000 and cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson has been slotted for $250,000. Johnson, who was the program’s assistant head coach/linebackers coach in 2012, will earn $25,000 less to remain on the staff.
All four of the assistant coaches agreed to terms through June 30, 2014. McDonald, Thomas and Johnson have prorated buyouts of $50,000 they would be required to pay back to the Razorbacks if they left Arkansas for another position.
Herbert will earn $300,000 through June 30, 2016 in his role as the program’s strength and conditioning coordinator. It’s a big jump from former Arkansas strength coach Jason Veltkamp, who earned $200,000 last year. But Bielema said he was determined to lure Herbert away from Wisconsin to join him at Arkansas.
“Ben Herbert touches our players more than any person in our program,” Bielema said last month. “He is hands on with them on a daily basis. So it was important for me to be able to have the pool and the resources to bring him with us.”
The opportunity to provide more compensation for assistant coaches and staff was one reason Bielema left Wisconsin to coach the Razorbacks. He grew tired of watching assistant coaches come and go on a yearly basis for higher-paying opportunities, something he hopes will change with a larger pool at Arkansas.
The highest-paid members on the Arkansas staff are coordinators Jim Chaney and Chris Ash, who will earn $550,000. Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge is the highest-paid non-coordinator at $350,000. Shannon is next in line at $315,000.
Bielema is expected to complete his Arkansas coaching staff in the next few days.