Ohio State raises salaries for football assistant coaches to more than $9 million
Nine returning Ohio State assistant football coaches received salary increases, according to copies of contracts obtained by The Dispatch through an open records request.
The largest pay bump was given to Brian Hartline, the Buckeyes’ fast-rising wide receivers coach who in January was promoted to offensive coordinator to replace Kevin Wilson after he left to become the head coach at Tulsa. Hartline will make $1.6 million as part of his base salary, a 68.4% hike from the $950,000 he saw in 2022 when he added passing game coordinator to his title.
That's a higher figure than Wilson, who earned $1.4 million for a base salary in each of his last two seasons with the program.
Five of the assistants are now getting seven-figure base salaries, led by defensive coordinator Jim Knowles at $1.96 million and defensive line coach Larry Johnson at $1.17 million. Both saw 3% salary increases.
Offensive line coach Justin Frye and secondary coach Tim Walton will also each earn $1 million. Frye, who additionally holds the title of run game coordinator, made $800,000 last year, while Walton received $700,000.
The total salary pool for the Buckeyes’ on-field staff has reached $9.3 million, an all-time high for the program after it surpassed $8 million for the first time last year.
The $8.8 million in combined assistant coaching salaries was the most among public schools across all of the Football Bowl Subdivision last year, according to USA TODAY Sports' annual survey of assistant coach compensation, and Ohio State remains well-positioned to hold that distinction for another year.
Alabama is the only public school that is so far known to be paying its on-field staff more than $9 million for this year as the Crimson Tide announced last week that it will give $9.17 million to its 10 assistants.
The combined salaries for OSU include $400,000 for Keenan Bailey, who moved up to tight ends coach after he had spent the previous seasons in a variety of roles on the support staff.
Special teams coordinator Parker Fleming also saw a six-figure raise to his salary, going from $300,000 to $500,000.
All of Ohio State’s other assistants earned modest 3% raises, including running backs coach Tony Alford up to $772,500, safeties coach Perry Eliano up to $515,000 and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis up to $412,000.
Not adjusting for inflation, salaries for Day's assistants have risen by 29% since he took over the program four years ago, the result of a series of increases that accompanied growing revenues for the athletic department. During Day's first season at the helm in 2019, the salary pool for his 10 assistants was $7.25 million.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.