I have few thoughts on the heels of Jeff Grimes reportedly interviewing for the vacant LSU offensive line position. As many of you know, I'm a glass half full kind of guy, so I'll begin with something positive.
This is a good thing for the program—no, not Grimes actually leaving. If you've read anything French wrote last season you'd know that Grimes is a talented position coach and a fine recruiter. Where I'm going with this is in any industry the best want to hire and work with the best. Even if you haven't followed along with the film reviews here, LSU courting Grimes should make you feel good about Beamer Co.'s hire a year ago.
However, there'll be a negative vibe throughout the fan base if we just walk in, and not out of the bar with a looker.
It's no secret that Virginia Tech lands somewhere between cost effective and frugal with how much it pays its coaches. Just look at the USA Today coaches salary database. Bud Foster, arguably the best defensive coordinator in college football, made $535,785 in 2013. That's less than Texas' Manny Diaz ($650,000), who was canned midway through the season, ACC contemporaries Ted Roof ($601,000) and Brent Venables ($800,000), and way too many other defensive coordinators.
Foster did make $5,451 more than Greg Studrawa ($530,334). Studrawa is LSU's former o-line coach. Although, Studrawa's pay in 2013 probably reflects a coordinator's salary because he was LSU's offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012. However, considering LSU's lowest paid coach, Steve Ensminger ($280,334), earned more than Grimes ($265,000), Grimes would probably be in line for a significant bump in salary at LSU.
Also, a reminder via David Teel that Virginia Tech got Grimes and Scot Loeffler on the cheap.
Virginia Tech football's offensive makeover wasn't nearly as expensive as market rates suggested. New assistant coaches Scot Loeffler, Jeff Grimes and Aaron Moorehead won't be filing 1040EZ forms with the IRS, but thanks to Auburn, the Hokies saved more than $400,000.
As Tech's offensive coordinator, Loeffler's base salary will be $400,000. Grimes, the line coach, will earn $265,000, while Moorehead, the receivers coach and least-experienced of the trio, will make $150,000.
The school revealed those numbers Friday during a news conference to introduce the coaches.
But Loeffler and Grimes worked this past season at Auburn, which fired head coach Gene Chizik and his staff following a 3-9 finish. Loeffler and Grimes have time remaining on their Auburn contract, Loeffler through June 2014, Grimes through June of this year.
According to USA Today's database, Loeffler's base salary at Auburn was $525,000, Grimes' $407,050.
Until the Auburn contracts expire, Tech will pay Loeffler and Grimes the equivalent of $150,000 annually. Paying Loeffler at that rate instead of at a $400,000-per-year rate, for essentially 18 months, saves Tech approximately $375,000.
The savings with Grimes will be about $55,000.
Even the simplest solution, Tech counters any LSU offer with an equally competitive one, is complicated for a few of reasons.
- I don't believe Grimes will be paid more than the coaches above him on the food chain.
- If Grimes is getting a raise, then why not Torrian Gray ($221,704)? Gray's a long tenured coach and terrific assistant in his own right.
- Virginia Tech is transitioning its athletic director, and president for that matter. Who would sign off on any salary adjustments?
- Is 8-5 and 7-6 good enough for anyone to receive a raise?
According to the USA Today database, of the 105 schools that had information for total staff pay, Virginia Tech had the 38th ($2,219,820) highest staff pay total. Simply put, Tech's going to have to pony up the dough to keep up in another college football arms race.
Among other results, Beamer Co.'s coaching upheaval caused a loss of its foundation—solid staff stability. I doubt Frank had many restless nights worrying if Curt Newsome would be wooed by a marquee SEC program. Changes needed to be made, and now we will see how Beamer Co. reacts after jumping into the water with the rest of the sharks.
Does Beamer Co. have contingency plans in place? Can it maneuver around the change of leadership happening in the offices above them.
Good or bad, it is possible we learn much more than we wanted to about the state of, and future of the program, in the following days and weeks ahead.