FAYETTEVILLE — New Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said he left Wisconsin seeking more resources to pay assistant coaches.
Now that his nine-man staff is complete, it’s pretty clear Bielema got his wish.
Arkansas’ nine on-the-field assistant coaches will earn a combined $3 million for the 2013-14 season, which is roughly $1 million more than Bielema’s 2012 Wisconsin staff reportedly received. The Arkansas total was finalized when the university released salary figures for wide receivers coach Michael Smith ($275,000) and tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. ($200,000) on Tuesday afternoon.
Smith’s agreement as wide receivers coach equaled that of former Arkansas assistant George McDonald, who left to become offensive coordinator at Syracuse last week after spending one month with the Razorbacks. Lunney Jr., who left Bentonville High for a job at his alma mater, is the staff’s lowest-paid coach.
The contracts for Smith and Lunney will run to June 30, 2014. Their letters of agreement include a prorated $50,000 buyout if they leave for other jobs.
The $3 million doled out by Arkansas for its football staff is the most in school history for a group of assistants. The 2012 Arkansas assistants earned $2.604 million, with five of the nine coaches receiving $250,000 or more. The 2013 group includes seven coaches who will be paid $250,000 or more.
The total doesn’t include money for other support staff members like strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert ($300,000), on-campus recruiting coordinator Chris Hauser ($80,000) and director of football operations Mark Taurisani ($150,000).
In addition, Bielema will earn $3.2 million a year with the Razorbacks.
It’s not clear where the salaries rank when compared to other coaching staffs for 2013. But the $6.2 million total for Bielema and his assistants would rank 10th in the nation, according to USA Today’s database of coaching salaries for 2012.
2013 Arkansas football staff salary
OC/QB — Jim Chaney — $550,000
RB — Joel Thomas — $235,000
WR — Michael Smith — $275,000
OL — Sam Pittman — $275,000
TE — Barry Lunney Jr. — $200,000
DL — Charlie Partridge — $350,000
LB — Randy Shannon — $315,000
DC/DBs — Chris Ash — $550,000
CB — Taver Johnson — $250,000
Other staff members
On-campus recruiting — Chris Hauser — $150,000
Football operations — Mark Taurisani — $80,000
HS relations — Bobby Allen — $150,000 (beginning July 1)
Strength coach — Ben Herbert — $300,000