When a college football program becomes successful, every offseason there are members of the coaching staff that are going to be poached by other programs. It's the nature of the business.
Since head coach Kirby Smart arrived in Athens, he's had to replace a top assistant almost every season.
- Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker: Hired to be the head coach at Colorado (2018)
- Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney: Hired to be the offensive coordinator at Tennessee (2018)
- Tight ends coach Shane Beamer: Hired to be tight ends coach at Oklahoma (2018)
- Offensive line coach Sam Pittman: Hired to be the head coach at Arkansas (2019)
- Defensive backs coach Charlton Warren: Hired to be the defensive coordinator at Indiana (2020)
Headed to the 2021 season — a year where national title expectations are higher than seemingly ever before — Georgia managed to keep almost all of their assistants this offseason and added to their staff. It’s an “all-in” year for Georgia.
And it came with a cost.
Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning was being wined and dined by new Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, and it took a $475,000 raise to $1.7 million per year to keep Lanning in Athens.
Running backs coach and key recruiter Dell McGee was drawing major interest from his alma mater Auburn, and it cost Georgia a $175,000 raise to keep McGee on the staff in 2021.
Tight ends coach Todd Hartley got his salary bumped up to $450,000 this offseason. The only loss on the roster was defensive backs coach Charlton Warren and not only did they fill that void with Jahmile Addae from West Virginia for a smooth $500,000, but they also brought in former South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp for $300,000 as an off-field analyst.
All great coaches that Georgia couldn’t afford to lose are all returning to Athens for 2021 with unfinished business.
Georgia did everything they could to ensure continuity among an already great staff, while improving it along the way.
This level of financial commitment to a coaching staff is certainly not new to college football. In fact, Smart received several raises during his time at Alabama in order to keep him on the staff as long as they did prior to him leaving for the Georgia job.
Clemson has nine assistants making at least $500,000 per year, including defensive coordinator Brett Venable's staggering $2.4 million salary.
However, it seems it is new for Georgia. This is a drastic difference in the level of financial commitment and willingness to spend. Stashing former head coaches that were turning down Power-5 defensive coordinator positions like Will Muschamp is not common to Georgia.
This type of change in spending is clear dedication from the athletics department in Athens. It is a department that recently went through a major change with Greg McGarity stepped down and Josh Brooks was named the replacement.
Smart and Georgia have caught up to the national powerhouses in terms of recruiting. Now it appears they are also catching up in salaries allotted to top assistants and analysts.
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