Tennessee football reveals contract terms, salaries for Josh Heupel's offensive assistants
Josh Heupel's five-man offensive coaching staff comes at a bargain rate.
Tennessee on Monday released the memorandums of understanding for Heupel's offensive staff hires, and those assistants will combine for $2.55 million in salary during the 2021 contract year.
Comparatively, Tennessee had six offensive assistants on the final staff of former coach Jeremy Pruitt, and those six individuals combined for $4.23 million in salary in 2020.
The drop-off in staff salary reflects the relative lack of SEC experience on Heupel's inaugural staff.
Each of the five assistants is earning less than the person who held that position on Pruitt's final staff. Pruitt's staff had six offensive assistants and just four on defense because Pruitt also coached defense.
Offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Alex Golesh received a three-year deal, while offensive line coach Glen Elarbee, running backs coach Jerry Mack, quarterbacks coach Joey Halzle and wide receivers coach Kodi Burns received two-year deals.
Tennessee also on Monday announced the hire of defensive coordinator Tim Banks to a three-year deal. Banks will earn $1.3 million in his first year, and his salary will increase to $1.4 million and $1.5 million in subsequent years.
Rodney Garner reportedly will serve as defensive line coach, leaving two vacancies on staff, or three openings if Tennessee does not retain inherited defensive assistant Kevin Steele.
Here is the salary information for Tennessee's offensive assistants.
Alex Golesh (offensive coordinator/tight ends coach): Golesh will earn $750,000 annually. By comparison, former Vols offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was set to earn $1.7 million in 2021. Chaney is now owed that in severance. Golesh's deal runs through Jan. 31, 2024.
Glen Elarbee (offensive line coach): Elarbee will earn $750,000 annually. His deal runs through Jan. 31, 2023.
Jerry Mack (running backs coach): Mack will earn $400,000 annually. His deal runs through Jan. 31, 2023.
Joey Halzle (quarterbacks coach): Halzle will earn $350,000 annually. His deal runs through Jan. 31, 2023
Kodi Burns (wide receivers coach): Burns will earn $300,000 in the first year of his deal before his salary increases to $425,000 in his second year. He's also scheduled to receive a $125,000 retention bonus if he remains on staff for the final regular-season game of the 2022 season. His deal runs through Feb. 28, 2023. Burns was under contract at Auburn through Jan. 31, 2022, which explains why his salary is smaller in 2021. It keeps Auburn on the hook for $125,000 in severance.
Buyout information: If Tennessee fires an assistant without cause, that assistant would be owed the remainder of the salary he's due. The assistant would have a duty to mitigate the damages, meaning that if he finds new employment during the term of his Tennessee contract, his new salary would be subtracted from UT's buyout costs.
If an assistant coach leaves while under contract for another SEC job, he would owe Tennessee a buyout equal to 50% of the salary remaining on his deal. If he leaves for a job in the NFL or a college job outside the SEC, that buyout obligation would drop to 25%. Tennessee could choose to waive the buyout for good cause, such as if an assistant left while under contract for a head coaching opportunity.
Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake's subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.