Friday Q&A: December 13, 2013

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1) How can we expect VT to compete in the top 20 when the assistant coaches aren’t paid in the top 20, especially Bud Foster?

Chris Coleman: FYI – this question stems from this Roanoke Times article by Andy Bitter.

Personally, I feel like Virginia Tech is a bit unique.  Bud Foster, Charley Wiles and Torrian Gray could all go somewhere else and make more money, most likely.  If they did that, they also know that they wouldn’t be guaranteed a job after a year.  Head coaches get fired all the time, and assistant coaches pay the price.  Those guys know that if they left Virginia Tech, they could get paid more money for the price of no job security.  Meanwhile, they know that if they stay at Tech they’ll be employed as long as Frank Beamer is here.  And why not?  They are all great coaches.

For what it’s worth, going out and hiring a bunch of new coaches doesn’t guarantee success.  UVA ranks #3 in the ACC in assistant coach salaries, and NC State is #4.  Those two teams combined to go 0-16 this year with the third and fourth highest paid assistant coaches in a 14-team conference!  Obviously going out and spending a ton of money on assistant coaches doesn’t mean you are going to have success.

There are successful programs that don’t rank among the top 20 in assistant coaching salaries.  Here’s a look at some who don’t rank in the top 20.  Their salary rank is listed to the left.

#22 Louisville – ranked #18 in the country
#24 Missouri – ranked #8 in the country
#28 Wisconsin – ranked #19 in the country
#29 Boise State – one of the most successful programs in recent history
#30 Ole Miss – 7-5 this season, Music City Bowl
#32 Michigan State – #4 in the country, Big Ten Champions
#34 Iowa – 8-4 this season, Outback Bowl
#35 Arizona State – ranked #14 in the country

Michigan State has won 11+ games in three of the last four seasons.  Wisconsin is an outstanding program year after year.  Missouri just played for the SEC Championship, and Louisville won the Orange Bowl last season.  All of these programs are on par with Virginia Tech when it comes to coaching salary (VT would be #27 if Auburn wasn’t still paying Jeff Grimes and Scot Loeffler).

Virginia Tech also needs a bigger