Four of Ohio State’s assistant football coaches will make more than $1 million next season, according to compensation figures released by the university Monday.
It will mark the first time that a football program at a public university will pay seven-figure salaries to as many assistants on one coaching staff, according to USA TODAY, which has tracked salaries in college athletics for more than a decade.
Kerry Coombs, who was lured from the NFL to return as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator, will become the highest-paid assistant, due to receive $1.4 million in basic compensation.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is set to earn $1.2 million, and defensive co-coordinator Greg Mattison and defensive line coach Larry Johnson will each net $1.113 million.
Mattison made $1.1 million in basic compensation last season, while Wilson and Johnson saw pay bumps of more than $200,000 to cross the seven-figure threshold.
The payroll for Ohio State’s staff of assistants, already one of the most well-compensated in the nation, will total $7.94 million, a figure that does not include bonuses tied to the team’s performance, which could lead to greater windfalls for each of them.
Last season, on-field assistant coaches received a combined $2.46 million in bonuses when Ohio State won its third consecutive Big Ten championship and reached the College Football Playoff.
>> Read more: Ohio State assistant football coaches get big bonuses
That was on top of a combined $7.25 million in basic compensation that made them the third-highest paid staff in the nation, trailing Alabama and Clemson, according to coaching salaries collected by USA TODAY for its annual database.
The performance bonus structure is unchanged in new contracts, which were reviewed by The Dispatch. The Buckeyes' assistants can still receive incentives worth up to 38.25% of their base salary, a maximum possible payout that involves an appearance in the playoff title game.
Salaries for OSU football assistants have risen dramatically since staff sizes expanded two years ago. The 2018 season marked the first time that teams were permitted by the NCAA to hire a 10th on-field assistant.
At the time, Ohio State increased its payroll for the staff beyond $7 million, including for the first time paying assistants salaries worth more than $1 million annually.
Greg Schiano, who was to enter his final season as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator, saw $1.5 million in basic compensation in 2018, and Ryan Day got $1 million as offensive coordinator prior to his promotion to head coach, succeeding Urban Meyer.
In 2017, the Buckeyes paid their staff of nine on-field assistants a combined $4.49 million. Coombs made $500,000 that year as cornerbacks coach before leaving for a job in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans for two seasons.
Ohio State’s salary pool for assistants next season will be more than double than when it last won the national championship in 2014, when it paid the staff a combined $3.59 million.
The current $7.94 million payroll for assistants includes salaries for offensive line coach Greg Studrawa ($700,000), running backs coach Tony Alford ($618,000), wide receivers coach Brian Hartline ($550,000), linebackers coach Al Washington ($500,000), special teams coordinator Matt Barnes ($450,000) and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis ($300,000).
Among the six assistants, Hartline saw one of the biggest raises — an increase of $190,000. Studrawa and Barnes saw raises of $100,000. Dennis, the lowest-paid assistant, is in his first season in an on-field coaching role.
According to the salaries tracked by USA TODAY, at least one school will have a bigger assistant salary pool than Ohio State.
That is Clemson, which upended the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff semifinals in December. The Tigers will pay their assistants a combined $8.145 million.