2020 VT Assistant Coaching Salaries

3,460,000 if my math is right (it's likely not) for the assistants.

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That's about consistent with what we'd expect, I think. Claeys and Teerlinck are making more due to their resumes, Ham, Lecht, Smith, and Tapp are making less given theirs. Lecht gets a little bit of a bump relative to Smith and Tapp because he's been on staff longer.

edit: $3.46m total

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2019, for Comparison:

Total has decreased by roughly $200k - given a lot of the recent press, I wouldn't be surprised to see that go towards 2-3 support staff roles.

EDIT: Source. Also worth noting this is base salary, no bonuses included.

Coach Salary
Zohn Burden $320,000
Vance Vice $280,000
Justin Hamilton $200,000
James Shibest $445,000
Jafar Williams $200,000
Charley Wiles $280,000
Bud Foster $1,000,000
Brian Mitchell $280,000
Brad Cornelsen $490,000
Adam Lechtenberg $175,000
Total $3,670,000

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Shibest, Cornelson, and Vice each took a slight pay cut from 2019 to 2020.... interesting

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

not if you include their retention bonuses of $40k each for Cornelsen and Vice and $55k for Shibest.

Also interesting that Jafar got an $80k raise. Gotta hope that's a positive sign

I'm a bit surprised to see Hamilton and Claeys making more than Cornelson, just based on level of experience / current job title.

I wonder if they have base salaries and performance tiered bonuses like head coaches?

I think everyone is being paid market value.

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So it may bump up a bit after June.

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Cornelsen's contract expires in June, you say...


So there's your extra $200k right there.

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If twitter is blocked for you:
Here are the salary figures and (total compensation) and [change from 2019]

Cornelsen (OC/QB)* - $450,000 + $40,000 retention bonus ($490,000) [no change]
Shibest (ST/TE) - $420,000 + $55,000 retention bonus ($475,000) [+$20,000]
Vice (OL)* - $260,000 + $40,000 retention bonus ($300,000) [+$20,000]
Williams (WR) - $280,000 [+$80,000]
Lechtenberg (RB) - $200,000 [+$25,000]
O total = $1,610,000 + $135,000 in retention bonus ($1,745,000)

Hamilton (DC/S) - $600,000 [+$400,000]
Claeys (LB) - $500,000
Teerlinck (DL) - $400,000
Tapp (DL) - $175,000
Smith (CB) - $175,000
D total = $1,800,000

overall total = $3,410,000 ($3,545,000 w/ bonuses)

* Based on a reply to Bitter's tweet, it sounds like Cornelsen and Vice might be due to get a pay bump when their contracts get renewed later this year.

edit: added increase from 2019 for coaches that were around then

Overall, I think this was a good way to address our weaknesses given our budget. I think Andy nailed it on the head:

Two former NFL players, one former NFL coach, one veteran DC, three people who know the state well, I think it at least checks every box to some degree.

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Yep, I mentioned it before that we are going with a high-risk/high-reward style all around on defense. Shooting for a lot of different angles to utilize on the recruiting trail, and using Claeys as something of an anchor/steady hand with experience to supplement the younger coaches.

Claeys isn't a terrible recruiter either. Andy Staples talked for 5 min or so on his last podcast about how Claeys' last recruiting class at Minnesota is mostly still in tact, and how well they're doing under Fleck.

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Hopefully Vice gets a raise when his contract is renewed, he has earned it Also according to the chart posted for last years numbers Vice is down 20k based on the numbers AB tweeted. Interesting that Shibest is losing 25k a year.

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I feel okay about this. hopefully we find some room in the budget to add some more support staff. It's obvious that is a pressing need moving forward in this college football climate.

Also paying Zohn about 200k to sit at home and be with his kids. He agreed/pushed for a 2 year deal last year when a DMV school came calling for him.

I wish someone would pay me about 200k to sit at home.

Good for him though, if we owe him the money why the hell not spend some time with your kids. The life of a coach is very time consuming.

Any idea if William's 80K increase is part of his contract structure, or merit-based? It seems interesting to me.

Also think Ham at 600K is a tad high for a coach with his level of experience, and maybe instead could be an incentive-laden contract. I know very little about coaching pay structures, but even the difference of 100K could mean two full-time support staff. I was thinking Ham would be at 500K.

It's about market value. If he could go to Clemson, LSU, etc and get $600k, we have to pay him that here. And we're probably getting a VT discount.

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That's about $6,716.42 per jet sweep for Cornelsen.

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Really.??!....I would have thought it would be a bit lower, based on the divisor....

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Anyone have experience working somewhere where everyone on your staff knows each others' salaries? Someone let slip our department's salaries a couple years back when I wasn't in management and it was...not great, bob. A lot of people were looking around comparing skill sets with pay and weren't too happy about it. Some people pushed for raises, some left for higher paying jobs, and others just said "I've been happy with this pay before I knew so I'll choose to keep being happy". I've managed to adjust the remaining underpaid employees' pay to match their skill sets, but I still wouldn't be happy if people let slip what they got paid.

I know it's a state job and they have no choice, but still.

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Yes and it's a much better work environment when people know what their peers, managers and underlings make. I'm an advocate for everyone sharing their salary and perks so that everyone can negotiate and be informed from a much better position.

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Agreed, b/c inevitably it gets out and makes the situation worse. So being transparent and upfront you never have to worry about it. I know that's easier said than done but its worked for me.

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Have to imagine there needs to be a good transition plan in place to go from private to company-public compensation. To avoid and mitigate the initial shock of it all, that is.

I had a co-worker from my first job who came on about 3-years after I had been working there. He was pretty much an exact copy of me 3-years younger. We played the same sports, went to out of state schools, eagle scouts, even found out that his parents were traveling when he was born and he was delivered in the same hospital I was (it did take him an extra year at UT to get his engineering degree, but that's about the only difference academics wise). We became good friends and one night he openly told me what his salary was. The same company who gave everyone a 1% raise each year due to a poor economy was paying someone I was currently training $15k more/year. I get why they were paying him more, supply and demand, but it broke my trust with the company to treat me fairly.

yes, my entire career...not an issue.

No issue and would encourage it if I were a manager or coordinator. Hiding compensation is only in the interest of the company to stifle salaries and keep overhead to a minimum. Oh and to rile people up when they eventually find out someone worthless is making too much.

and to rile people up when they eventually find out someone worthless is making too much


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Don't disagree entirely with the premise, however keeping overhead low is a pretty important part of maintaining a competitive business. There's what people are worth, what people want, what people are willing to pay, and what people are willing to work for. There's a lot of unique scenarios where both sides have their merit.

That was my issue with an open book company. I was a project manager getting bare minimum raises and watching the overhead and marketing staff get massive raises and unprofitable engineers getting raises because they "Market" better. It lead to a lot of employee dissatisfaction and turnover.

Now working for a closed book company, I get raises and don't have to worry about if somebody else is making more money than me.

Then how do you negotiate without knowing what your peers make from a position of strength?

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For me, I provided the HR person the annual personnel survey from the ASCE for people with my qualifications and experience levels. It breaks down compensation based on region, experience, and qualifications.

Heck it has gotten me a 21% raise over the last 2 years with the new company so I can't complain.

That's smart. I've done the same thing at 2 different jobs. I think they're called desk audits in the finance world. You just have to spend the time proving yourself and your value to the organization. Also, proving ROI and being likeable helps.

Which works well for some and in some fields. But I've found for females especially it doesn't work well. What's better is knowing what your peers especially people with similar time and training make do you can be paid equal to what others in your company make. Using only averages means you won't know if at your company you are still being underpaid.

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Sounds to me like the issue wasn't that the company was open book; the issue was that management didn't correctly understand the value of their employees.

TBH, I'd argue that being open book helped you understand that you shouldn't be at that company.

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Would definitely agree. But my point was I have experience with both a good closed book and a bad open book payroll system. They both can exist out there.

Remind me why shibest makes so much?

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TE and special teams coach.

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Every ST coordinator pulls double duty (TE coach is a common partner), and he's still the 7th highest paid ST coordinator in the country. It's a valid question.

Over the past 9 seasons, his Special Teams units have only ranked outside the top 40 once (This occurred during his first year at Memphis and was followed by three straight top 15 seasons). Over that same time frame he's had 5 groups ranked in the top 15.

FEI Special Teams Rankings are available back to 2007, here are the rankings for the units Shibest has coordinated over that time period.


Ole Miss


Virginia Tech

Also his units have become more consistently good over time:

So add in private schools and our assistants are at best in 40-45 range salary wise.

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For comparison, Mississippi State pays their assistant pirates $1M more then VT pays their assistant coaches. Head Pirate Leach also makes more then Fuente(s).