Grimes’ departure a lesson in financial reality

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Jeff Grimes’ reported departure puts into perspective for Hokie fans where VT stands in college football’s financial pecking order.

Per Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times, Virginia Tech was set to pay Grimes $280,900 this year. (Auburn wasn’t paying any of that; his compensation from Auburn ended July 1st, 2013.) That’s good money, and a lot of schools can’t afford that.

But the problem is, a lot of schools can afford more than that.  A lot more. And there’s the rub.

Historically, Virginia Tech’s assistant coaches haven’t been hot properties outside of Blacksburg, so there hasn’t been a lot of competition for their services. Guys like Danny Pearman (TE coach, 1998-2005) and Kevin Sherman (2006-2012) have found work once they left Tech, but in general, other programs don’t heavily pursue Virginia Tech assistant coaches. (Think: Billy Hite, Curt Newsome, Bryan Stinespring, and even well-regarded coaches like Charley Wiles and Torrian Gray.)

To be more precise, programs with hugely deep pockets, like certain SEC schools and Big Ten schools, generally don’t pursue VT assistants.

Grimes is an exception. He coached at Auburn, so he is well-known and respected within the SEC, and just one year after arriving at Tech, one of the SEC’s heaviest heavyweights, LSU, has snatched him up.

Grimes has a reputation as a “family man” who really likes Blacksburg as a place to raise his four children. But even family concerns can take a back seat to money.

Jeff Grimes’ reasons for leaving are his own. Perhaps he prefers to coach in the SEC. Perhaps the concern that Frank Beamer is going to retire soon motivated him. Perhaps the task of rebuilding VT’s offensive line is too daunting, now that he knows what he’s facing.

There could be any number of reasons why Grimes is “really” leaving, but let’s assume that he really did like Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, and wasn’t concerned about Frank Beamer’s longevity, and doesn’t really prefer coaching in the SEC, and knew he could get the job done, given time.

Even if all that were true, the money cannot be ignored. Grimes was set to make $280,900 this year from Virginia Tech, per this ...