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Arizona football assistants earned more than $3 million in 2018

Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone
Photo by Ryan Kelapire

College football is a big-money sport, there’s no denying that, one where Cash Rules Everything Around ‘Merica. It’s why the Arizona Wildcats almost always play home games at night, why meaningless bowl games have sponsors you’ve never heard of and why … (shudders) Imagine Dragons has provided the “anthem” for ABC/ESPN’s coverage this season.

And while the players themselves aren’t getting even the smallest piece of this money pie, the coaches who are tasked with recruiting, developing and mentoring them sure are.

In Arizona’s case, those coaches earned $5.15 million in compensation for the just-completed 2018 season that saw the Wildcats go 5-7 and fail to make a bowl game for the second time in three years.

The largest chunk of that dough went to head coach Kevin Sumlin, who was paid $2 million for the first year of the five-year contract he signed with Arizona in January. But his assistants got paid, too, to the tune of $3.155 million according to USA Today.

Here’s a breakdown of what each of the Wildcats’ 10 assistants earned in 2018:

  • Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone $600,000
  • Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates $560,000
  • Offensive line coach Joe Gilbert $400,000
  • Running backs coach Clarence McKinney $310,000
  • Cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin $260,000
  • Safeties coach John Rushing $225,000
  • Defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei $215,000
  • Wide receivers coach Theron Aych $200,000
  • Wide receivers coach Taylor Mazzone $200,000
  • Special teams coordinator Jeremy Springer $185,000

How does that assistant compensation compare to the rest of the Pac-12? Among the 10 schools whose salary info is public record—it isn’t for Stanford and USC—that $3.155 million ranks ninth. Only Oregon State, which paid first-year coach Jonathan Smith’s assistants $3.0756 million, paid out less.

Arizona State paid Herm Edwards’ assistants $3.73 million, while Washington was tops in the league by handing out nearly $5.5 million to Chris Petersen’s assistants.

From an individual standpoint, Noel Mazzone’s $600,000 salary ranks 92nd in FBS among assistants from schools that have made such info public. Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, at $1.7 million, was the Pac-12’s highest-paid assistant (and sixth-highest paid in the country).

Leavitt and Washington defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake ($1.1 million) are the only Pac-12 assistants making seven figures. There are at least 21 making that much nationwide, topped by LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s absurd $2.5 million salary that is more than Arizona’s top six assistants make.

Then again, LSU is playing in a New Year’s Six Bowl while Arizona’s assistants—save for McKinney, who is now head coach at Texas Southern—are criss-crossing the country hoping to pull in a few more recruits before the early signing period later this month.