Ohio State football assistant coach salary pool for 2022 is highest in program history
The total salary pool for Ohio State’s assistant football coaches is the largest in the program’s history, according to a tally by The Dispatch and based on contracts obtained through public records requests.
The Buckeyes’ 10 on-field assistants will make a combined $8.78 million in 2022, an increase of over $1.13 million since last season when their base salaries totaled $7.65 million. Their collective salaries had never previously surpassed $8 million.
A full picture of the salary pool became available on Wednesday after the university provided copies of the contracts of returning assistants.
Ohio State quarterback:How C.J. Stroud is preparing for second year as Ohio State football's starting quarterback
Ohio State football schedule 2022:Notre Dame and road trips to East Lansing, Happy Valley
Wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and running backs coach Tony Alford, who added passing game coordinator and run game coordinator to their titles in January, received pay raises that brought their salaries up to $950,000 and $750,000. Quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis also got a bump in salary to $400,000 from $300,000.
While the contracts for offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and defensive line coach Larry Johnson were extended, their annual salaries remained $1.4 million and $1.13 million.
The increase was due primarily to the hiring of Oklahoma State’s Jim Knowles as defensive coordinator. Knowles, who was one of three finalists last year for the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach, is making $1.9 million per year as part of a three-year deal, putting him as the highest-paid assistant in program history.
His annual salary is worth $500,000 more than what his predecessor, Kerry Coombs, made last season. The Buckeyes did not retain Coombs, who left to become the cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator at Cincinnati.
The salaries for Ohio State’s newly hired assistants were made available in January with offensive line coach Justin Frye at $800,000, cornerbacks coach Tim Walton at $700,000 and safeties coach Perry Eliano at $450,000.
In an interview with The Dispatch in February, coach Ryan Day thanked athletic director Gene Smith, president Kristina Johnson and the board of trustees for their support in making the recent hires.
“Without having great alignment from everybody in the university, these things don’t happen,” Day said. “But certainly Gene’s vision of saying, ‘Let’s go identify who’s the best fit for Ohio State, not the most expensive guy, but let’s go find the best fit for Ohio State and figure out what we have to pay for it, that’s how it went down.”
When staff sizes expanded in 2018 to include an additional 10th on-field coach, the Buckeyes’ assistant salary pool was $6.8 million before surpassing $7 million over the next three seasons.