Hopefully, none of the 180 or so Tennessee fans who attended the Big Orange Caravan stop in Columbia on Tuesday showed up hoping to hear Derek Dooley hurl a few barbs at the local school.
The Vols’ first-year coach is an engaging speaker who spoke candidly about his team and the challenges he will face this fall in Knoxville.
But he’s no Lane Kiffin, much to the delight of the fans I spoke to at the gathering at Seawell’s.
While Kiffin had loose lips and never let facts get in the way of a good accusation, Dooley has a law degree and an understanding of what’s appropriate and what’s crossing the line at these rally-the-troop spring meetings.
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The closest Dooley came to a verbal jab was an apparent reference to South Carolina defensive chief Ellis Johnson, who received a two-year extension and doubled his salary (to $700,000) after Dooley reportedly offered him the defensive coordinator’s post at UT.
Dooley told the crowd how he wanted to find a coach who wanted to be in Knoxville, and “not because it was late in their career and it was a high-paying job.”
After Johnson got a big raise after talking with Tennessee, Dooley hired former Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox at $600,000 a year.
Like Kiffin, Dooley was given a healthy salary pool for his assistant coaches, who will make a combined $2.725 million in 2010.
As much as rival coaches disliked Kiffin during his brief stay at Tennessee – and they did dislike him – every assistant coach in this conference should send a handwritten note to Kiffin in L.A. thanking him for fattening their wallets and adding to their retirement accounts.
Tennessee’s spending spree in 2009 – an aggregate $3.325 million for the nine assistants that saw D-coordinator Monte Kiffin become the nation’s first $1 million assistant – raised the salary bar for the rest of the conference.
Florida announced this week that Urban Meyer’s assistants will make $2.66 million in base salary, basically matching what Alabama is doling out to its staff this year and in line with what Auburn and LSU assistants made in 2009.
South Carolina will pay its assistants $2.15 million this year.
Four defensive coordinators will make $700,000 or more – Johnson, Kirby Smart of Alabama, Georgia’s Todd Grantham and LSU’s John Chavis. Wilcox is right behind them at $600,000, while Ole Miss and former Gamecocks defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix will make $500K.
He might have spent just one year in Knoxville, but the Kiffin Effect on SEC salaries – and athletic department budgets – will be felt for a while.
Read more: http://blogs.thestateonline.net/jperson/2010/05/19/kiffin-impact-still-felt-in-sec/#ixzz0oPyLSz8W