Georgia assistant football coaches Tony Ball and Bryan McClendon received significant pay increases recently, but they were the only members of the Bulldogs’ football staff to get raises following the Bulldogs’ 6-7 season.
McClendon, Georgia’s running backs coach since 2009 and its youngest assistant, saw his pay more than double from $90,000 a year to $200,000 annually, according to documents obtained by the AJC under the Freedom of Information Act. Previously McClendon was one of the lowest-paid assistants in the SEC.
Ball, Georgia’s wide receivers coach and a member of coach Mark Richt’s staff since 2006, will now make $200,000 after earning $165,480 last year.
The raises, which were enacted in February and March, respectively, were the results of “competitive counter offers” from UGA, according to Athletic Director Greg McGarity. Both coaches were offered positions at other schools, but he declined to say from whom.
“All I can say is they were legit offers,” said McGarity, who was attending SEC athletic director meetings in Birmingham on Tuesday. “I think the key is continuity. We had already lost two coaches to other schools. Continuity of staff is important to me and to Mark and we thought it was important to maintain stability, especially.”
Offensive line coach Stacy Searels received a hefty pay increase to take the same job at Texas and linebackers coach Warren Belin left to take a job with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
No other coaches — including Richt — are due to receive raises this year, McGarity said.
Ball, who came to Georgia from Virginia Tech five years ago, declined to discuss any other job offers he may have received.
“That’s something I want to keep in-house,” he said. “Those things happen all the time. Obviously, I feel blessed to be at Georgia and excited about the direction under Mr. McGarity and Coach Richt. We’re excited about the future.”
McClendon did not return a phone message seeking comment.
“Salary actions” also were executed for new assistant coaches Will Friend, who came from UAB to coach offensive line, and Kirk Olivadotti, who came from the Washington Redskins to coach linebackers. They will earn $200,000 and $250,000 a year, respectively.
McGarity indicated Ball and McClendon might have received raises anyway.
“They’re well-deserved,” McGarity said. “Both of these men are tremendous coaches who work very hard and were underpaid, in my opinion. We had some momentum going after recruiting and they had a lot to do with that. All signs are pointing up and we needed to be proactive. We will always be proactive.”
Georgia also could not afford to lose two of its three minority assistant coaches. McGarity would not address it but hiring more highly-qualified assistant coaches in a year in which the perception is that Richt’s future is uncertain could have been problematic.
McGarity would not rule out the possibility of additional salary increases in the future.
“Like I said, we’re always going to be proactive,” he said. “If things happen during the season we may feel like we need to do something. I think you have to look at each situation independently, but we’re always going to do what’s in the best interest of Georgia.”
By Chip Towers, The UGA Blog