Good Work If You Can Find It

By Adam Caparell - February 26, 2008

No one ever said being a head coach at a BCS school is easy work, but there's one thing you can't deny: it's pretty good work if you can find it. Just ask UConn coach Randy Edsall.

The Huskies head man, who has been at the helm in Storrs for eight years, inked a new deal with the school after the season was over and with the details coming to light Tuesday, Edsall's deal is going to pay him quite handsomely.

We're talking $1.5 million annually kind of handsome. So handsome, in fact, that the only employee of the state of Connecticut who will be paid more than Edsall will be UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun - the man basically responsible for building UConn into UConn. The same man who has won two national championships. And for further prospective, Geno Auriemma, UConn's women's basketball coach, has won five national titles and he's going to make $1.25 million a year. Does Edsall deserve that kind of dough?

But really, the figure Edsall managed to secure for himself should not come as that big of a shock considering the current economics of big time college football. UConn - just like all the other BCS schools - is paying through the nose these days to keep up with the Joneses and paying a coach with a career losing record (50-55) who managed to reel of a nice season now comes with the territory. Just ask Baylor who's paying new coach Art Briles $1.8 million a year or Duke who's shelling out $1.5 million a year to new coach David Cutcliffe.

And look across the sport. Heading into the 2008 season, 64 of the 119 Division I-A coaches are making over $1 million. You think all of those coaches have impeccable track records? Gene Chizik, Mike Stoops and Todd Graham surely don't.

UConn, just like countless other programs, has spent millions of dollars over the past few years, significantly upgrading the facilities in Storrs. The new football facility and practice center that probably ranks as the Big East's best has been vital and don't forget about one of the newest stadiums in the country that opened a few years back - Rentschler Field - that at 40,000 seats has plenty of room to grow.

But for all the money spent, so far, UConn hasn't had a ton of return on the dollar. With his new deal, Edsall will be the highest paid coach in the conference, tied right there with USF's Jim Leavitt meaning that two coaches who have managed to take their teams to a combined five bowl games will be making more than coaches at significantly more established programs like Louisville, Syracuse, West Virginia and Pittsburgh - teams that have actually been to a BCS bowl.

Think of it this way: Edsall and Leavitt are both making as much money as Joe Paterno, Dennis Erickson, Ty Willingham and Randy Shannon - two of them have won national titles (Paterno and Erickson) as head coaches while Shannon has multiple rings from his days as a Miami assistant.

If that doesn't just shows how crazy the pay scale has become in college football - that Randy Edsall is making as much as Joe Paterno - then what does?

But don't interpret this as a shot at Edsall or Leavitt. Rather the news of Edsall's new deal - and the subsequent salary information release - provides a chance to take a step back and conduct a much-needed reality check over how crazy the money continues to become in college football. Each year provides a new surprise. Granted there's more money invested in college football than any other sport and football can drive entire athletic departments - just ask Jim Tressel - but when you see sub-.500 career coaches making as much as Joe Paterno, it's makes you think twice about things.

Like how maybe you got into the wrong line of work.

News & Notes: Another coach who has underachieved over the past few years got himself an extension. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz had his contract extended through the 2012 season, but pressure is going to continue to mount if the Hawkeyes don't start winning again. Expectations won't be great for Iowa this upcoming season and after a few years of nothing but disappointing finishes, time may not be on Ferentz's side.

And if that's the case, Ferentz will be just fine. He'll probably land somewhere in the NFL. He's always been held in high regard at the next level.

-- A lot of people have wondered where in the world Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward is these days. His NBA days are long gone and the NBA assistant coach gig didn't really work either so Charlie's now found his calling in high school. He was named head football coach at Westbury Christian School in Houston.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 03:27 PM on February 26, 2008
Comments (1)


"Granted there's more money invested in college football than any other sport and football can drive entire athletic departments - just ask Jim Tressel"

I don't understand the point of the reference. Or Mack Brown. Or Urban Meyer. Or Pete Carroll?

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