An open-records request revealed another reason why Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has offered his approval and support of athletic director Todd Stansbury – he’s putting more money in his assistant coaches’ pockets.
Stansbury increased the assistant coaching salary pool by 15 percent, with $50,000 raises for most of the nine-member staff. For three of Johnson’s five assistants who have been with Johnson since 2010, the one-year bump was larger than the sum of the raises they had received over their previous six one-year contracts. The new contracts for defensive coordinator Ted Roof, Craig Candeto (quarterbacks/B-backs), Andy McCollum (safeties), Lamar Owens (A-backs/special teams), Mike Pelton (defensive line), Buzz Preston (wide receivers), Mike Sewak (offensive line), Joe Speed (cornerbacks) and Ron West (offensive line) went into effect in July.
“That was great,” Johnson told the AJC. “I was really appreciative for Todd to make that happen.”
Given a raise and extension through the 2017 season at the end of the 2014 season, Roof received another two-year extension and pay increase. Making $750,000 annually, Roof was given a raise to $800,000 and will be under contract through the 2019 season.
Increasing pay for his staff has been a priority for his Johnson. Last year, salaries were not increased from their 2015 amounts. The salary pool for assistants, $2.5 million, ranked lowest among eight schools in the ACC that released contract information for a USA Today database. (Six ACC schools did not release salary information, either because they are not required to as private schools or, in the case of Pittsburgh, because its state’s open-record laws do not compel it to do so.) The database listed only four power-conference schools behind Tech.
“I think he was trying to get us in the middle of the pack,” Johnson said. “We had done nothing, and we were at the very end. I think he’s got a plan to try to catch us up.”
In the 2016 USA Today database, the 2017 pool of $2,914,515 would rank seventh in the ACC. The 15 percent increase in the assistant salary pool, from $2.5 million to $2.9 million, is not insignificant in the context of the finances of the Tech athletic department. The Georgia Tech Athletic Association recorded a $3 million deficit in the 2017 fiscal year (it entered the year with a fund balance of $6.5 million) and is projected to break even in the 2018 fiscal year. The line item for personnel expenses in the budget from fiscal year 2017 to 2018 increased 3 percent.
The raises were one of a series of investments that Stansbury has made in Johnson’s team, including a $500,000 renovation to the lobby of the football offices (funded with revenues from the department’s rental agreement with Atlanta United) and the roughly $4 million renovation of the locker room (to be paid for through fundraising), expected to be finished in time for the 2018 preseason.
Among position coaches, the range was from $183,345 (Candeto) to $292,381 (Sewak).
Of Johnson’s nine assistants, Owens was the only coach to receive a $60,000 raise, from $203,345 to $263,345, which Johnson said was in recognition of his recruiting efforts.