LAFAYETTE — USA Today’s assistant coaches salary database was updated this week, and it revealed the Louisiana-Lafayette football team has a well-compensated staff.
The Ragin’ Cajuns assistants, in total, made $1,064,500 this season. That makes them the highest-paid staff in the Sun Belt Conference, just ahead of Arkansas State’s assistants ($1,011,800).
Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson was the highest-paid assistant on staff; an offseason raise put him at $190,000 per year. That made Johnson the third-highest paid assistant coach in the SBC, behind Arkansas State coordinators Walter Bell ($205,000) and Glen Elarbee ($200,000).
Cajuns defensive coordinator James Willis ($165,000) was the sixth-highest-compensated SBC assistant. Offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue was the highest-paid non-coordinator, coming in at $123,000. He was followed by tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Reed Stringer ($117,500), wide receivers coach Jorge Munoz ($107,500), defensive line coach Tim Edwards ($95,000) and running backs coach Marquase Lovings ($71,500).
Defensive backs coach Tim Rebowe, who will leave the team after next Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl to become Nicholls State’s head coach, made $101,500 this season. David Saunders, who left the team midseason for what the school called “personal reasons,” made $71,500.
Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster was the highest-paid assistant coach in college football at $1.37 million, but more than half of that came as part of a one-time “longevity” payment. Considering only annual salary, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart ($1.35 million) is the highest paid assistant.
Rise and shine
Much has been made about how the New Orleans Bowl’s 10 a.m. kickoff will affect the Cajuns’ preparation — and possibly performance — but coach Mark Hudspeth doesn’t sound concerned. The only thing that will change, he said, is when the Cajuns get their day started.
“It won’t change our routine; it’ll just change the time we wake up and the time we pregame,” he said. “Now it’ll be a 5:45 a.m. wake up and a 6 a.m. pregame meal. But the routine — as far as walkthroughs, heading to the stadium, taping and dress — all that’s the same.”
Hudspeth dismissed the notion that the early start could play a part in his team’s performance, saying that if his players can’t get up for a bowl game, then something isn’t right with them.
But he did acknowledge that it might propose a difficult situation for a team like Nevada, whose players’ body clocks will need to adjust out of the Mountain time zone. That was difficult for Hudspeth’s players to deal with when they made the trip West to play a late-night game against Boise State.
“That will be a 3:45 (a.m.) wake up for those guys,” Hudspeth said. “It’s sort of the same thing we faced at Boise, when we had a 9 (p.m.) local time kickoff. That was a long day for our guys. … Sometimes those things do affect you. I’m sure they’re trying to do some things in their preparation to account for that.”
Familiarity breeds content
The early start wasn’t the only popular topic at Wednesday’s media day. Coaches and players have beaten to death the fact that they have no issue going to the New Orleans Bowl for the fourth straight year, but that hasn’t stopped the questions from trickling in.
Perhaps the repeated line of questioning gave them time to come up with responses like this: “Does Christmas get old?” Hudspeth quipped.
But there are some tangible benefits to being in the same place four years in a row, besides being put up in New Orleans for a week. If coaches love one thing, it’s routine.
“I know right where my room is,” Hudspeth said. “It’s the same room, I can go right there; I don’t even need directions. Your meeting rooms are the same, your bedroom’s the same, where you eat breakfast, walkthroughs, your routine, your favorite restaurants that you’re going to hit with your wife and your coaches … you look forward to it.”