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Arizona getting defensive coordinator Don Brown on the cheap in first season with Wildcats

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Air Force at Michigan Photo by Lon Horwedel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona will have one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in college football this season, but thankfully it won’t be the one footing most of that hefty bill.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown will earn $1.7 million for the 2021 season, according to records obtained by the Arizona Daily Star. That would rank eighth-most among FBS assistants based on 2020 salaries tabulated by USA Today.

But here’s the catch, and it’s a great one for the Wildcats: Brown’s salary is based on the contract he had with Michigan when they fired him after the 2020 season. The Wolverines are required to pay him the difference between what he would have made with them and what Arizona is paying him, which will be $500,000 for 2021, meaning UM is on the hook for $1.2 million.

Brown’s salary with Arizona is set to increase to $800,000 in 2022, and that will all come from the UA. He has a 2-year contract with the Wildcats, one of four members of Jedd Fisch’s staff that received 2-year deals.

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Brennan Carroll is getting $635,000 for 2021 and $660,000 for 2022, while passing game coordinator Jimmie Dougherty will earn $870,000 over two seasons and strength and conditioning coach Tyler Owens will average $230,000 per year.

Arizona’s other assistant coach salaries for 2021 are as follows:

  • Chuck Cecil (safeties) $285,000
  • Ricky Hunley (defensive line) $285,000
  • DeWayne Walker (cornerbacks) $285,000
  • Jordan Paopao (tight ends/special teams) $270,000
  • Kevin Cummings (wide receivers) $250,000
  • Scottie Graham (running backs) $250,000
  • Keith Dudzinski (linebackers/special teams) $225,000

All told, Arizona’s assistants will earn $3.405 million in 2021, an increase of nearly 20 percent from what Kevin Sumlin’s final staff was set to make before pandemic-induced pay cuts were implemented last year.

Arizona had to pay a $7.5 million buyout after firing Sumlin in December and also owes $800,000 to former defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads and $600,000 to former offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, both of whom were under contract through the 2021 season.